Over the last year or so mental health has been in the news a great deal; high profile celebrities and even members of the royal family have talked about how their mental health has been affected. People are feeling more encouraged to talk about things that have affected them, the impact this has had on their day to day life and and to seek help or treatment.
Recently the gardener David Domoney has developed the idea of an RDA (required daily amount) of gardening. He has found that 30 minutes a day of gardening can be a real boost to a person's mental and physical well being - you can read more abut it here
Today I am really pleased to have Kirsty from My Little Allotment as a guest blogger where she writes about how gardening has helped her deal with and improve her own mental health and wellbeing. Please take a look at her blog; she was recently featured in the June issue of the popular Kitchen Garden magazine.
I began by asking Kirsty if she had been interested in or encouraged to garden before her mental health issues.
I had heard a lot about how good growing your own and gardening can be for the mind, and that’s how my little allotment started.
* April was the 1 year anniversary of taking on your allotment. What is the biggest change both personally and also on the allotment?
The biggest changes on my allotment so far for me overall is the pumpkin patch area, last year when I started the weeds were up to my tummy and the ground was incredibly un-level. After lots of digging and clearing in the summer last year and some help from my friends this year I’ve finally managed to get it flat and ready for crops, there’s even a patio for summer evenings when we can have a bbq on the plot.
In a year I feel like I’ve come a long way in terms of recovery and it’s all down to my allotment therapy.
*What would you love to grow or are you growing which has proved to be something of a challenge
I think my aim overall is to give as many crops a go as possible. For me I tend to find the ‘easy to grow’ vegetables and flowers are always my nemesis! Last year I couldn’t grow a sunflower, but managed to grow aubergines who knows how I managed that one. So this year I’m really concentrating on getting some sunflowers to grow successfully as i didn’t succeed last season. I’m growing some really unusual varieties of squash this year and giving fiesta corn a go so I hope to have some fun unusual harvests.
* What is your go-to garden tool?
Ohh go to garden tool, that’s a difficult one. I relied on my fork heavily last year for ground prep, so I don’t know what I would have done without it, but going forward it has to be the garden hoe, anything that makes weeding easier is the one for me.
*Do you have a favourite gardening book, writer or celebrity gardener?
For me personally I don’t have a favourite book, author or celebrity gardener. I think because my passion is so new I’m open to reading and researching everything at the moment. At the moment my biggest inspirations are following the everyday people like ourselves that have a huge passion for growing their own fruit and vegetables and watching their journeys unfold.
*And I finally would like to ask you, as we are entering your favourite time of the year, Spring Bring It On, what plans are you most excited about?
For me the things that I’m most excited about this season are, hopefully harvesting a big harvest of squash, Watching the huge selection of dahlias come to life and of course watching max the giant pumpkin come to life. I decided last minute that I wanted to grow a giant pumpkin and he is already quite big, I’ve named him max and he is defiantly one of my favourites this year.
I hope you enjoyed my guest blogger and I'd like to say a really massive thank you to Kirsty for taking the time to talk to me, for sharing part of herself regarding her love of gardening and how it helps her in everyday life.
Don't forget to visit her blog and you can follow her on Twitter @allotment9A.
Bye for now.