Real Men Sow

Those Little Things that Make Us Members of the GYO Gang

I heard a lovely story this week.

My mate Nick has got into GYO this year, and he’s been talking recently about expanding his empire into his mum’s garden. Nick spent last weekend digging a patch there, and sent me a picture of the effects the digging had on his hands.

‘Gardening Injury’
Now, Nick’s a big strong boy, and enjoys a good workout in a gym. The night after he sent me the picture, he followed up with a text, talking about going for a work out in his gym. However, Nick had to cut the workout short because his hands were so sore from his ‘gardening injury’, as he called it.

This made me laugh, the idea of the macho weightlifting environment, and having to end a session prematurely because of digging too hard on an allotment.

When I chat to fellow growers, I love hearing the subtle ways in which the plot sneaks into every day life, without us really realising.

Dirt Under the Fingernails
In my first year, I’d often smile to myself at Monday morning meetings, trying to hide the soil under my fingernails as I offered handshakes to colleagues and visitors. I was so wrapped up in my new passion that I’d forget to scrub my hands post plot trip.

In the end, I gave up and religiously cut my nails only on a Sunday, although secretly I quite liked the dirt, almost as if it was a war wound from the weekend.

‘Yeah, I’m an allotmenteerist, mate. See these fingernails?’

Public Empty Toilet Roll Scavenging
I also remember getting curious looks one morning when I came out of the work toilets with a handful of empty toilet rolls under my arm. It takes a fellow veg grower to realise how these are going to be used…

No one understands these little foibles except other gardeners, and I love the knowing acknowledgement that often follows, like the way motorbikers nod when they pass on the road.

We’re all joined by these little things, whether we’re finding old seeds in coat pockets or walking mud through our houses.

Like being in a club. And a very nice club at that.

Thanks for having me.

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About Real Men Sow

meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope. However, over a decade later, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

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