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Growing pains: So good for body and soul

PUBLISHED: 10:55 22 December 2010 | UPDATED: 18:19 20 February 2013

In the last of the series, Jayne rounds off a year on her allotment

In the last of the series, Jayne rounds off a year on her allotment

Staring out of the window one Sunday morning in early November, watching the rain turn the back garden into a swamp, I wondered about the wisdom of being a weekend vegetable grower.
Combining an allotment with a full time job has its drawbacks. In the autumn and winter months, when the days are short, I can only get to the plot at weekends, so if it rains a couple of weeks can go by before I can get the spade out and deal with the weeds.
Sometimes theres nothing for it but to don the wellies and waterproofs and get stuck in. Im the only one at it, of course, as most of my fellow allotment holders are people of, er, more mature years with time to spare (I know, I know, youve never been busier since you retired).
And so it was on this particular Sunday. In between heavy showers I managed to harvest some lovely red and Savoy cabbages, which must have weighed in at about three pounds each and some parsnips, which were delicious that evening roasted with carrots and potatoes also from the plot.
Theres only so much mud a girl can take, though, so I quit while I was ahead and left the weeds to their own devices.
Winter digging will have to wait until the ground dries out a little.
Is it worth it, I ask myself? My allotment rental has jumped from 34 to 40 a year in three years, which for someone of more restricted means is quite a lot. Seed is pricey, plants even more so and Ive had to invest a fair bit in hoops and nets to keep wildlife away from my crops.
It might not seem like it but fruit and veg has never been cheaper in the supermarkets, so why dont I just load up a trolley along with everyone else?
Because at the end of the day theres an enormous amount of satisfaction in growing your own. Its great to be outdoors, its good exercise, its a fantastic learning curve and its good for the soul. And as I sit down to home grown Brussels sprouts, roasted potatoes, parsnips and carrots on Christmas Day I know all of this years efforts will be worth it.
Heres to more growing in 2011.

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