I’ve always been the kind of person interested in side projects and creative techniques for earning a side income to my primary wage. Throughout the years I have tried many different strategies, some really quite lucrative and some absolute disasters, though most lay somewhere in between. The one thing all my enterprises had in common was that they were never anything that I truly ‘believed in’. By this I mean that my hobby was essentially finding different ways to make money, so the different things I was spending my time on weren’t things that I necessarily enjoyed doing or felt passionate about – it was simply the end goal of financial reward that was keeping me going. I guess that’s the reason why none of these ever really ‘stuck’ and became a long term project for me. That is except for the allotment project. I believe the reason this really worked for me is because I actually love the work involved in managing and maintaining by small group of allotments. I get the pleasure of small scale farming, fresh air, good exercise whilst also saving money by growing my own vegetables. Oh yeah and I actually do indeed draw a small subsidiary income from it on the side – let’s call it my ‘beer money’. I’d like to take just a few minutes of your time to share with you how I made the project a reality.
It started with a realisation I had one day. I was low on money and my primary job was barely paying the wages. I normally like to put some savings away every month so I decided it was time for a new financial pursuit. Unfortunately I didn’t have the spare resources to throw into a new venture so I thought of ways I could make money with what I already owned – a nice large garden. I enjoy my garden but most of the year it just rests there doing nothing in particular, simply providing grass and trees for the pleasure of looking and enjoying the scene. I figured I could maintain this concept and actually embellish it further by converting most of the area into allotments. There was more than enough space for my personal needs. So I decided I was going to build a lot more and offer to rent them out to the local community if there was any interest. I got really excited about the idea and the following weekend I decided to put my plan into action. I believed in the allotment project so strongly, and was so fired up that I want and took out an online loan from wonga.ca and the very same day used this money to buy all the construction materials I needed to begin construction later that evening. I used the remaining cash to bulk buy a selection of well known hardy vegetable seeds and some grade A soil and fertiliser from my local garden centre. By day one of the project I had built the frame work for the very first allotment spot!
As the days rolled on I finished an even 20 allotments. Each spanned in size of 5ftx10ft and they butted together to form neat north-south row to get the best use of the sunlight without crowing each other out. I had placed fliers in some of my popular local shops back when I had first thought of the idea and had asked people to scribble down their details if they were interested in being a part of the project. When I followed up these leads I had basically all the allotment spots filled the very same day. Each allotment box was rented for $50 for the entire year with the soil and seedlings included as part of the box. That next day I went and paid off the loan entirely with the money I had collected and spent the remainder on some communal tools for the shed that people could use if they didn’t have their own. The allotment project is now currently coming into it’s second spring season and the success has been phenomenal. People are learning more about the skill of growing and the community is friendlier than ever. My only regret is I don’t have more space to expand the project further. If you happen to have a large garden space and nothing to do with it then I heartily recommend you begin your own allotment project, you won’t regret it!