Green Gardener’s Guild Chat With: @myjourneyintogardening

Welcome to your next edition of our Green Gardener’s Guild Chats – this time with a fantastic allotment owner, Ana from @myjourneyintogardening. We wanted to catch up with Ana and see just how she has been growing her allotment. As a beginner to her allotment, there is work to be done – and we are excited to be catching up with her as she begins her journey. Just as every successful gardener begins somewhere!

Let us step into Ana’s allotment and find out more about her wonderful green space with some hints and tips from the owner herself.

We wanted to know a little bit about Ana’s allotment, to which she happily told us: “My allotment is a quarter plot. It’s very small as I’m just starting out. But, to be honest, it is everything that I ever wanted. I have space to grow vegetables, soft fruits and even flowers. I just need to be super organized, and it works. My main goal is to grow organic vegetables. I feel like I have missed out so much by growing up in a city without green spaces. Now I know what real vegetables taste like! Most of the time, I garden by myself, but sometimes I garden with my husband. Ideally, I would be a daily gardener. But for now, I’m a “weekender” gardener.”

One of the main reasons many of us get involved in growing our own is exactly for the same reasons as Ana – to experience how wonderful it is to grow our own food and taste something we know is entirely organic and natural. There’s nothing quite like it! Even if you do not have an allotment, growing your own vegetables is easier than you might think. You can even grow your own in containers on your balcony, or even in your home too. From pepper plants to carrots, using coconut coir as your compost of choice can benefit your growing. If you are looking for hints and tips on growing your own with coir, check out our helpful guides over on our blog, or get in touch – our expert team is on-hand to help!

Back to Ana’s wonderful little allotment – and we wanted to ask whether Ana considered herself an experienced gardener, or someone who was relatively new into the hobby. Ana replied, “Not experienced at all! I started gardening in April 2022 without knowing what I was doing. My biggest motivation was leaving my flat and being in contact with nature. So far, it’s working better than I would imagine. I have had a few failures, but it is part of the process.”

It’s not just your physical health that gardening helps with. Just as Ana has found, getting outdoors and away from busy city life to escape into nature can be just what you need to get in touch with nature. If you don’t have an easy escape to the country, worry not – if you are an urban gardener, you can make a safe, green haven of your own on your balcony! Add a few containers to your space and fill with soil and seeds, and see what you can grow! There are numerous plants available that can adapt to the British weather and even to very shaded balconies, or those that may have more wind than others. Take a look and see what you can find to bring nature to your doorstep – you may be surprised! (Though, having an allotment to escape to too like Ana sounds absolutely perfect to us!)

Being in touch with nature matters a lot to Ana, who told us what she enjoys most about gardening: “I enjoy lots of things about gardening. I love the challenge of growing my own food, trying to figure out why something failed or learning new things. Also, I love the taste of homegrown vegetables, they really taste different. And, of course, being in contact with nature! I didn’t know how much I needed that until I had this plot.” For those of us who live around cities, a breath of fresh air can be inspiring – and like having pets to care for, having plants that rely on you to help them grow and seeing the results of your efforts come to fruition is very satisfying. If you have yet to try to grow your own, maybe Ana’s experience can inspire you as much as it inspires us too?

Ana’s biggest challenge when gardening is a very familiar one to us, too! “Weeds! That’s my biggest challenge. Being on top of the weeds is so difficult. Even more, because I want my plot to be organic, so I need to dig them all out. It’s hard work, but I know it will be worth it.” Keeping our gardens and plots free of weeds can be an unending battle – be mindful of your back when weeding and take regular tea breaks (hey, we’ll always advocate for a lovely biscuit and cup of tea when we can have one!) and if your land requires it, why not look into mulching? Coco Chip coir mulch is perfect for not only enhancing garden borders, but it also keeps weeds from sprouting and slugs and snails from your plants. Not a bad idea, right?

Finally, we wanted to know how Ana viewed her allotment plot and how she sees her progress so far – but also, for fun, we also asked what exotic plant she’d love to be able to grow here in the UK if she were able.

“Maybe a 6.5? I would like to have one of those picture-perfect allotments that you see on Pinterest, or at least have those as inspiration. So, it will take some time! But I’m enjoying the full process until there. [For an exotic plant I’d like to grow] I’ll have to pick mango, as It’s my favourite fruit. That would be a dream!”

A huge thank you once again to Ana for sharing her experience with us – we are always delighted to hear from gardeners across the country, beginner and experienced alike.

If you would like to get in touch and share your gardening story, contact us and we will be happy to chat with you too. Come follow us on Instagram and follow @myjourneyintogardening for more of Ana’s allotment adventures. We’ll see you all there – and in our next edition!