There’s nothing better than an hour on the allotment in summer to take away the cares of the world.

Especially now as we start to enjoy the fruits of our labour. And so far so good.

Broad beans, peas, lettuce and potatoes for now. The promise of beetroot, carrots, tomatoes and sprouts to come. Summer raspberries are here. Blackcurrants and redcurrants won’t be long. Then gooseberries and blueberries - unless they get eaten by the birds. You can’t have everything. A lesson for life, not just gardening.

If you’ve got the time to look after an allotment - and you do need time - the benefits are enormous.

I reckon you can easily save several hundred pounds a year by growing your own. And, of course, what you grow always tastes better than anything you can ever buy.

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Whatever is left over at the end of the season can be stored, frozen or turned into jam, pickle and chutney so nothing goes to waste. And there are neighbours who will use what you can’t.

Allotments aren’t only for fruit and veg, though. Some of our plot holders keep chickens. Others keep bees. The bees make honey - local, unpasteurised, therapeutic - and pollinate everyone’s crops. The chicken manure fertilises the soil without the need for harmful chemicals. That’s sustainability.

Even if your crops fail - and some will - the health benefits of being in fresh air never do. And there’s so much more. The opportunity to meet friendly people over a cup of tea and learn from their experiences, to swap stories and seedlings.

The National Wales: Idris Cummins, 82, from Pontypridd, has been tending to his allotment everyday for more than 60 years, clocking up over 40,000 miles on the two mile round trip from his home, never missing a day. The allotment has provided much joy over the years, whilst helping feed his family from the chickens eggs, to potatoes and runner beans the plot was also Idris' haven during the Covid-19 lockdown. Picture: Chris Fairweather/Huw Evans AgencyIdris Cummins, 82, from Pontypridd, has been tending to his allotment everyday for more than 60 years, clocking up over 40,000 miles on the two mile round trip from his home, never missing a day. The allotment has provided much joy over the years, whilst helping feed his family from the chickens eggs, to potatoes and runner beans the plot was also Idris' haven during the Covid-19 lockdown. Picture: Chris Fairweather/Huw Evans Agency

I would never have heard of the ‘Carmarthen method’ were it not for Keith, a long standing plot holder, yet always keen to innovate. Never stuck in the mud.

It seems that over the course of the pandemic increasing numbers of people everywhere are recognising the importance of allotments.

Up until 2018 we never had more than a couple of people on the waiting list at a time. Now we have a dozen or so waiting up to three years. In Cardiff people are waiting up to six years for a plot.

We need more allotments in Wales. It would also be a help to know how many allotments we actually do have. Across the UK numbers peaked in 1918 at 1,500,000.

By 2009 that had fallen to 300,000 with an estimated 100,000 on waiting lists. Today I would guess that there are even fewer plots and many more people waiting.

So what can we do?

We have the Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908 which says that if six local residents want an allotment and none are available, then they can request their local council to provide them with a site.

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What is more, the 1908 Act gives compulsory purchase powers to authorities to obtain land for allotments so there should be no excuse. Except too often excuses are made. And there is plenty of land around that could be converted into allotments, even on a temporary basis.

If you want an allotment, get onto your local council now and keep the pressure up and together we can change our world, one spud at a time! And for those of you unfamiliar with the Carmarthen method, it’s when you plant a broad bean on top of a potato. Happy harvesting.

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