Storage ideas for your food, flowers and tools
With over 65 million people currently living in the UK, outdoor space is at a premium; we’re often living on top of each other with tiny gardens, or for many, no garden at all. Therefore allotments are a great way of getting a bit more green space and a whole host of other benefits.
Firstly, having an allotment can be social and a great way to connect with your local community. Conversations may start off with sharing tips for the best compost mix or comparing the size of your summer marrows, but give it some time and friendships may flourish along with your plants.
Allotments are also a fantastic way to exercise! Anyone who’s ever dug over an allotment in the spring will agree that it’s a great way to get some physical exercise while reaping the rewards of healthy fresh produce. It’s great to know exactly where your food comes from and be able to harvest it yourself in the delightful, fresh British air.
Furthermore it’s a brilliant educational opportunity for young children where they can learn where food comes from. Get your children and grandchildren to lend a helping hand and they’ll soon see that food doesn’t grow on supermarket shelves. Plus, getting them involved might inspire them to eat more veggies!
‘In 2013, a British survey found that almost a third of the country's primary school children thought cheese was made from plants and a quarter thought fish fingers came from chicken or pigs.’
However for beginners’ still mastering crop rotation and planning when food is ready to harvest, you’ll find that at times you will need food storage. It could be for a glut of courgettes that snuck up on you, an abundance of juicy strawberries or a massive haul of potatoes. Instead of letting any delicious produce go to waste, storing it will allow you to enjoy the produce throughout the year.
To celebrate National Allotment Week we have been trawling the internet to find the best storage ideas for your food, flowers and tools.
Essential Allotment Storage (Food, Flowers and Tools)
1.) Preserve it!
Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
is a classic combination. The sweetness of the strawberries counteracts the bitterness of the Rhubarb. So, before your strawberries start to grow fur, get some mason jars and make your own home-made jam. If done correctly, they will last up to one year in a dark, dry place.
2.) Jar it!
There have been a few scares in the news recently about bagged salad. It’s good practice to plant lettuce in succession so it doesn’t all need harvesting at the same time. However, if you store it in Mason Jars
it will last 7-9 days longer and won’t wilt or have brown edges. Great for all those who need lunch on the go.
3.) Freeze it!
Smoothies are an excellent healthy choice for breakfast and are incredibly easy to make. However, buying fruit out of season in the winter can cost a bit. But if you freeze your summer fruits
you’ll have access to them all year round. It’s important that you freeze the fruit (Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, etc) in a single layer without touching each other or they will become unmanageable lumps.
4.) Hang it!
It’s very important that garlic, onions and potatoes are kept in a well-ventilated, dark cool place. If they’re put in plastic, they’re unable to breath, moisture will develop and will quickly rot. Hessian sacks are brilliant for this but if you’re limited on space these laundry bags
work well and could be easily hung on the back of a door, under the stairs or in a larder for easy access.
5.) Keep it!
Herbs can be so fickle. If you don’t keep on top of them they can quickly go to seed and don’t tend to last very long. If you store them in jars
they will last weeks and weeks, but don’t PACK them in, just lightly fill.
6.) Box it!
From the Domestic Goddess herself, Martha Stewart suggests using an archive box
, fill with shredded paper to store any flower bulbs that are too tender to survive a winter outside. The paper will help with moisture. Store in a cool, dark place until spring.
7.) Label it!
Struggle to remember each year what you planted or which plants need pruning or protecting? Keep all of the labels on a metal ring
so you can refer back to the plant care instructions.
8.) Sprinkle it!
Don’t risk leaving your seeds in the shed in the paper envelopes as the mice will have them by the time you return next spring. Reuse Tic Tac containers
, plus the design of the container makes it easier to sow them next year.
9.) Re-purpose it!
What a genius way of storing all you’re your tools, twine and gloves
. If you’re lucky enough to have a green house or a shed on your allotment it could be easily hung up – making accessing your tools a breeze.
10.) Corral it!
Don’t waste money on store bought boot trays. Keep your boots up right in a recycled wooden crate
, but if you’re leaving them in a shed or outbuilding do give them a good shake before putting them on in case any critters have moved in.
11.) Transport it!
If you don’t have anywhere to store your bits and pieces at your allotment you’re going to need to bring them to and fro. Jute Storage Bags
are the perfect storage solution for all you’re gardening needs.
12.) Enjoy it!
After all of that hard work you deserve a cup of tea and a spot of lunch or cake. This gorgeous Tool and Tuck Box
from English Heritage not only allows you to store your tools but also has a sliding compartment to hold your much needed sustenance.
If you’re interested in getting an Allotment, we would encourage you to contact your local council, there may be a waitlist as there is a substantial shortage of plots in the UK at the moment. You may also consider joining up with friends or family and sharing the plot and the work load!