One of the things that I do to relax, if I ever get a spare moment, is to potter in the Garden. Pottering I think is quintisentially English, and I enjoy it immensly.

I am not very good at gardening, as I don’t give it the time that it really deserves. My plants lurch from gardening session to session not knowing how much attention they will get and mostly end up fending for themselves.

I do like growing fruit and vegetables though. There is something, I think, that is genetically pre coded into certain men, the desire to grow food and provide for the family. Its something primitive and just on the edge of my consciousness, but it is there and this year it’s in full flow.

I only have a small garden and because I don’t have a lot of time the crops are limited, but I still have beans, peas, potatoes (in grow sacks), tomatoes, cauliflowers, broccoli, onions, garlic, lettuce (both red and green), strawberries and raspberries, oh and some asparagus but as it is its first year I cant pick any. It sounds an awful lot written down like that but overall takes up very little space in my small garden. I suspect if I had more time and didn’t mind sacrificing my lawn that the daughter plays on then I could produce an incredible amount of food!

I suppose that’s what makes Allotments more attractive to people these days, the chance of organic, locally produced food that tastes brilliant straight out of the ground!

I am seriously thinking about an allotment for future years, but suspect I will only be able to have one if I find some friends who want to “share” it with me!

If like me you have the urge to grow stuff, then why not consider an allotment yourself? Harlow Council have a number of sites around the town – Find out more here.

As I have got older I have found a growing (pardon the pun) affinity to my garden.

I like to grow things. I particularly like to grow things that I can eat!

There is something rather magical about popping into the garden to get ingredients, for my other growing passion, when I am cooking. Knowing where your food has come from and how it is grown is a wonderful thing.

This always used to be small scale, the odd herb in a pot. Fresh rosemary on my lamb, fresh bay leaves in my stews.

But in more recent years it has (ahem) mushroomed, to the odd mushroom, and a couple of chilli plants and a wider herb garden.

I really took the plunge this year though!

I have built a raised vegetable bed for onions, beetroot and and miniature sweetcorn , I have beans and peas growing up my trellis and have buckets with potatoes in.

My daughter (almost 3 years old) is loving playing in the garden with daddy and has some sunflowers growing as well. There is something quite magical about children understanding how the natural world works and where food comes from.

Of course I don’t have that much time and so my efforts are limited to what I can do in my small back garden.

Many others though are taking the plunge and through a desire to go greener, a wish to save money, the chance to do something as a family in the open air, or maybe a combination of the three are driving a rejuvenation of “grow your own”.

If you want to grow your own on a bigger scale or a group of friends and family want to work together, why don’t you consider getting an allotment?

In Harlow, the council has 35 allotment sites, so there is probably one quite near you. It doesn’t cost much, the typical plot is only about £18 for a year, and there are concessions for pensioners and those on benefits.

If you want to know more about allotments in Harlow, take a look here.