Salt of the earth means a very good and honest person or group of people. It is the perfect description for the community of gardeners who can be found up in the Colin Neighbourhood Partnership allotments.

I was fortunate to secure an allotment a couple of months ago and I can’t believe the joy and pleasure I’ve found in retreating to this sanctuary a couple of hours per week. The allotments bring out the friends of the earth.

On arrival to this little piece of Eden I was greeted by several members of the allotment community and was offered lots of help and advice by these experts of gardening experience who are willing to teach you what they know about the dos and don’ts of gardening. You quickly get a sense of their respect for Mother Earth.

Matthew, the manager, guided me to my little piece of Ireland aka allotment 91. I was filled with a sense of joy as I acquainted myself with the land. Today I was ordained an official allotmenteer equipped with my spade and fork and accompanied by good friend’s Dan and Derry John, we got to cultivating the precious soil.

Matthew had told me that I will taste the benefits of my labour on sitting down to dinner on Christmas Day with my home grown vegetables on my plate. What a wonderful outcome I thought to share my harvest with friends and family, so that they too could enjoy the fruits of the earth.

First we had to weed out the weeds and we did this with accuracy ensuring that no soil was discarded. I also experienced what can only be described as timelessness as, in what appeared to be a blink of an eye, a good, honest hour had past. Here in the here and now of gardening is akin to what I know as mindfulness.

Mother Earth brings you right into the moment and another world opens up in front of your eyes, a myriad of creatures appear who live in the soil; insects of exquisite colour going about doing what they do. We were also joined by a local inhabitant, a robin and one of the friendliest birds that I’ve ever come across. I think he was making sure that if any worms were exposed that would be his dinner.

As I continued to dig I found myself lost in reverie of all those who had dug this land before me. I knew deep down inside that this tough weeding is what is required to cultivate and prepare this plot of land for future bounties of carrot, parsnip, aubergine, potato, onion, leek, garlic and much much more.

Matthew had told me that I will taste the benefits of my labour on sitting down to dinner on Christmas Day with my home grown vegetables on my plate. What a wonderful outcome I thought to share my harvest with friends and family, so that they too could enjoy the fruits of the earth.

You engage in great physical exercise with the turning of the soil and the fresh air filling your lungs. My good friend Dan brought a sieve with him and as I sieved the soil, it was like panning for gold as we separated the stones and weeds from the rich soil.

Gardening also gives you a sense of completion, a job well done and you know when to stop and rest in this timeless moment, where you are at one with Mother Earth.

Through cultivating the soil I found an inner cultivation of peace and serenity; that sense of satisfaction that comes when you call time on time well spent. 

I am reminded of a beautiful short poem by Paul Fowler.

Outside under a clear blue sky,

Don’t think about the work I’ve got,

Just idly let the day go by,

As I sit in the sun and weed my plot.

Enjoying the quiet in the fresh air,

Doing my own thing, there’s no judgement,

Just tending my plants without a care,

Spending a glorious day on the allotment. 


As a mindfulness practitioner I can honestly say that the soil teaches me a lot. Maybe that’s where the word allotment comes from!