What to Plant in Autumn

 

(From left to right) Pumpkin growing in an allotment. Big pumpkin in allotment. Woman holding up a pumpkin

About My Little Allotment
 
 
My gardening journey started 3 and a half years ago when I got myself an allotment after a breakdown in my mental health. 6 months before getting my allotment I gave birth to my second daughter Mila but I had gone through a really tough pregnancy and birth, 6 months after she was born my mental health took a turn for the worse and I ended up really ill. I was suffering with severe panic attacks, night terrors, unable to do anything in fear that my family would be hurt, I dramatically lost weight and I was struggling to figure out what I had to live for. I was extremely poorly but luckily had the support of my doctor, family and friends around me. 

 

I booked myself in for CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and was diagnosed with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and this came as a big shock to me. I did some reading into PTSD and PTSD linked childbirth and how I can help myself improve my mental stability. There was lots of information about how focus therapy can help PTSD and how gardening therapy can be beneficial as this is very task focused. So 6 months after Mila was born I applied for my allotment weeks after falling ill and this is how My Little Allotment was born and to this day I can honestly say that my allotment has helped me find myself again, its helped me back on my feet and it helps me in my day to day life to cope much better with my mental health.

My allotment has saved me and brought me back to happier more positive place in my life and I am forever grateful for how amazing gardening therapy has been for me. I am now a total gardening, allotment and plant addict and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

What is your secret to… 

My secret to growing big pumpkins is to make sure that you prepare the area where you will be growing your pumpkins as they are very thirsty and hungry plants. When it comes to planting your pumpkin, here are some tips to help make watering more efficient.  
 
Make sure you dig a much larger hole than you need for planting and pop some double strength compost into the bottom of it. To the side of the large hole pop a large plant pot and then plant your pumpkin in the hole next the plant pot and fill in the hole with compost leaving the plant pot empty. The plant pot will then become the watering pot for your pumpkin.  
 
When you water your pumpkin during the growing season water directly into the pot this way all the water goes directly to the roots of the pumpkin plant and isn’t evaporated off the ground. Pumpkins (especially giant ones) are really thirsty plants and like to drink lots of water every day so make sure that you also use lots of mulch around the plant to help retain the moisture for those hot days. Make sure you also feed the pumpkin directly into the plant pot as well and feed it at least once a week giant pumpkins can be pretty greedy. 

There are lots of Wonderful crops you can grow over the winter, it’s a great time to get in all of your autumn sowing onion and garlic sets into the ground. Make sure they are planted in well-draining soil so they don’t become soggy as this could lead them to rot, the plants will survive over the winter months and will be ready for harvest in June. You can also sow seeds like kale, winter lettuce, lambs lettuce, rocket, mizuna and mustard in allotment beds and pots for lots of lovely winter green harvests.

How can we find further tips from you? 

You can find more tips and hints and follow My Little Allotments journey over on my Instagram page @my_little_allotment and my twitter account @allotment9a.

 

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