A novice's guide to producing his own food


Tired of being tired

Each year since I started running an allotment, there comes a point where I’ve been tired for such a long number of weeks that I actually get tired of being tired. I am there now.

As you read this, I am completely shattered as I’ve been on the go with hardly a break for the past three weeks. Virtually every daylight hour has been spent either working on the allotment, looking after the bees or walking the dog. Throw into the mix a heck of a lot of cooking and harvesting, plus several evenings spent jarring-up honey, and it seems like I can go longer remember what it’s like to be not-tired. It reminds me of when my children were very young.

Of course, I shouldn’t grumble, because it is all of my own making, but I think it should be highlighted that having an allotment can be very physically demanding. If any of you think it is a sedate pastime for the elderly, then you’re very, very wrong.

On the plus side, the point at which I get completely knacked is moving later and later into the year, so I guess I’m getting physically fitter. My first allotment was the most tiring, but it was also the smallest. I could barely dig for ten minutes without getting backache. Now I can manage two hours.

The other thing to know, is that each year I’ve been taking on more and more. This year, for the first time, I found myself in the happy position of having a glut. Fantastic! It’s what we all want. But the physical act of harvesting, storing, cleaning, cooking, preserving and freezing it, has meant that I have been as busy in the early autumn as I was in the spring. I have also sold my first honey at the Dundee Flower Show — a major milestone.

So, overall, there’s much to be happy about. But I can tell you part of me is really looking forward to the winter slow-down.