From 9 – 15 August the National Allotment Society is celebrating National Allotments Week, which, in its 18th year, recognises the essential benefits of owning and tending an allotment. This year’s theme is ‘Plotting for the Future’ which focuses on digging a sustainable future.
Gardening photo competition
To help encourage more people to get growing, we’re giving away a Sow Clever Kit in our gardening competition. Sow Clever is one of our newest partners, who help people discover the joys of gardening with inspiration, expertise and their special kits and gifts with 20% off for CSSC members.
For your chance to win, simply post a picture of your allotment, garden, balcony, hanging basket or window box, showcasing either plants, flowers, or food you’ve grown. We’ll pick a winner at random, so even if your tomatoes failed to sprout or your dahlias have already bloomed, you’ll still be in with a chance. – Good luck. Please see T&Cs.
A brief history of allotments
Far from being a new phenomenon and restricted to the UK, allotments have been popular since the 1700s all across the world. Traditionally, they would be land given to ‘the people’ by wealthy or regal land owners to farm and provide harvests and crops for the community. They have since ‘grown’ (sorry) to become an essential space for many communities and focal points of towns and villages.
Over the years and continents, they’ve been called many names, most notably ‘community gardens’ in America, which are often maintained by a collective of residents, and ‘Victory Gardens’ in the UK, during the war years, as an effort to encourage those at home to grow food to supplement rations.
Throughout the last 300 years, while the usage, layout and style may have changed, the fundamental need for cheap land to grow food and vegetation has remained.
Far from being the clichéd sole pursuit of older gardeners growing vegetables, allotmenting can now include raising chickens and other small livestock, bee keeping, fruit orchards, wildflower spaces, sensory community gardens or green learning spaces for school. The average age of allotment holders is reducing every year, perhaps thanks to the numerous gardening TV programmes available, or perhaps due to the increased awareness of the value of sustainable living and benefits of nature to young and old alike.
A healthy space to grow
We’ve spoken before at length on the value of allotmenting and gardening in general, to both mental and physical health, which you can read in Green Therapy - Our mental health awareness week magazine.
In fact, gardening has become so popular with our members and staff, we’ve got a dedicated gardening webpage supporting all our offers and partners, together with advice from experts to help you grow your passion from novices to experts. We’ve even got a blossoming CSSC gardening club on facebook, where you can join like-minded colleagues to share tips and photos of your accomplishments, with hundreds of members.
As well as our gardening page, we’ve brought together loads of great value offers to help bring down the cost of gardening and allotmenting. Plus, don’t forget, for the ultimate garden experience you can get Free entry to Kew gardens – a living laboratory and many other wonderful wild and managed gardens, with English Heritage and Cadw (Linked below).
- Grow your own – free seeds
- Sow clever – save 20%
- Farmer gracy flower bulbs save 10%
- National garden centre gift vouchers
- Gardening activities for the kids
- English Heritage
What to grow, when to sow, this month
If you're lucky enough to have an allotment, or perhaps a garden, balcony, grow bag, window box or plant pot, there’s still loads you can do throughout the summer to get involved. So why not get planting?
Sow outdoors in August
- Beet leaf spinach
- Chinese/Spring cabbage
- Spring Cauliflower
- Lambs Lettuce
- Spring Onions
- Christmas Potatoes
- Winter Raddish
Harvest throughout August
- Broad/French/Runner Beans
- Summer cabbage/cauliflower
- Onion sets
- Spring onion