The Half-Hour Allotment: Thriving Gardens In Just 30 Minutes A Day

Chances are you’re a pretty busy person. And if you’re reading Garden Culture, chances are you’re interested in gardening, too. So many people say they’d love to grow their food but don’t have the time to give. But what if I told you that just 30 minutes a day could give you beautiful fruit and vegetable gardens? Oh yeah, and you’ll also get weekends off.

The Book

I recently received a book from the Royal Horticultural Society called The Half-Hour Allotment: Timely Tips for the Most Productive Plot Ever. Written by Lia Leendertz, the book offers time-efficient solutions for busy gardeners who also want to harvest something to eat every day.

30 minute allotment

Weekly work plans help make the dream possible, along with a list of the best crops to grow and advice on the ultimate plot arrangement.

The Concept

Will Sibley is the man behind the concept of the half-hour allotment. A nurseryman and allotment holder, Sibley was a busy man who wanted to keep tidy gardens that produced plenty of fresh food but only wanted to spend two and a half hours a week tending to them.

30 minute allotment

Sound appealing? It sure sounds good to me.

The Basics

There are a few golden rules behind the half-hour allotment:

  • Persistence: Be at the garden regularly; that means five days a week for 30 minutes at a time. You’ll be able to keep on top of all of the tasks, keep connected to your plot (which is excellent stress relief), and keep an eye out for pest issues.
  • Organization: Spend a few minutes at the end of each 30-minute block planning your next garden visit. What seeds need to be sown the next day? Is there any weeding to be done?
  • Grow What You Need: Why grow crops that mature at the same time and have to preserve them? Instead, choose fruits and veggies you love to eat and that mature throughout a growing season so you can enjoy them weekly like beans, tomatoes, zucchinis, and peppers, for example.
  • Grow Luxury Crops: There’s nothing more satisfying than saving big money by growing food that typically costs a lot at the stores. Think asparagus, new potatoes, raspberries, fresh salad greens, and more.
  • Use Time-Saving Tricks: Growing food from seed is rewarding, but it’s just as much fun to use seedlings you purchase at a local nursery. Plugging plants into the ground and nurturing them to harvest is also satisfying and will fill your belly!
  • Be Realistic: Know that the half-hour allotment technique won’t grow all of the food your family needs. If you’re cool with that, then this method is for you. Otherwise, get to work!

So, reserve 30 minutes each day to work in the veggie patch, then make a margarita and kick your feet up!

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Catherine Sherriffs

Editor at Garden Culture Magazine

Catherine is a Canadian award-winning journalist who worked as a reporter and news anchor in Montreal’s radio and television scene for 10 years. A graduate of Concordia University, she left the hustle and bustle of the business after starting a family. Now, she’s the editor and a writer for Garden Culture Magazine while also enjoying being a mom to her three young kids. Her interests include great food, gardening, fitness, animals, and anything outdoors.