Real Men Sow

Giving Up the Allotment

On Saturday, I gave up my allotment.

With a little ‘un on the way in February, and the opportunity to grow veg in my back garden, I made the decision not to renew my allotment rent.

My rent was due at the end of November, so I’d quietly been getting things ready for the passing on of Plot 105. Over the last few weeks, I’ve moved rhubarb crowns, strawberry plants, fruit bushes from the plot in to the garden. All that remained was to clear the shed, and of course, say goodbye to a dear friend.

Fearing the Sadness
I’d been feeling nervous last week, as I built up to handing in my notice on Saturday morning. I didn’t know how I was going to react on my last visit. So many wonderful memories, cherished time spent with my mum and oodles upon oodles of stuff learned.

I feared that I might shed a few tears. I’m not afraid to admit that a few knots had worked their way into my stomach as I walked down the path for the final time. I took mum with me, and we set about packing my tools and other paraphernalia into the boot of my car.

Relief and a Final Harvest
Part of me felt relieved to be passing my plot on. I’ve been working hard turning the back of my garden around, and my plot has gotten scruffy. It’s not unlike a house just before you move out. Work is required to tidy the place up, but you don’t want to do it as you’re moving on soon. I’m glad that soon, someone will be tidying up my messy bits, giving the place some love, ready for a new growing season.

We couldn’t resist one last harvest; picking leeks, cavolo nero, cabbage, curly kale, spring onions, and lettuce, and digging up my experimental sweet potatoes (they were pretty good).

I wish I could take the purple sprouting broccoli with me. The plants are looking very healthy, and someone is in for a bumper crop next spring. A little tinge of regret shot through me as I check out the PSB, knowing I wasn’t going to be munching on any of it.

Joy
I tell you something though: when me and mum sat on our bench and stared out across the plot one last time, I didn’t feel sad. I felt overwhelmingly joyous.

What an amazing 4 years I’ve had on these wonderful allotments. I took my plot on, knowing nothing, yet I’ve fed me and the wife fresh, delicious vegetables throughout that time. I’ve had failures, successes, laughs, the odd nap and spent a year on a grow your own money saving adventure.

I could go bore you with all the great practical reasons for having an allotment, but you know all that stuff already. What you might not appreciate if you don’t already run a plot, is the spirit it engenders in all those who embrace them.

The best way I could describe the allotment is a great big smiley face. It always felt so right, so friendly and always gave me a lift when required. From the soil, to the fridge, the plate, my lunchbox and even my wedding, my allotment ran right through my life, like a best friend.

Passing the Plot On
Of course, I was sad to see it go. But I felt jubilation too at the experiences we shared. The time to move on is right. A baby will take up so much of my time, and being able to pop down the garden and snatch 20 minutes will be vital if growing my own veg is going to continue successfully.

And the concept of passing the plot on to another keen gardener is a tremendous feeling. When we took the plot over it had been neglected, but we’ve turned it around. I’m contented when I think that we’ve improved Plot 105 whilst under our stewardship, and we’re passing the allotment on in a far better state than we received it.

Passing on plots to other people who need growing space is what allotments is all about, after all. That’s why they exist and continue to flourish. I had no garden when I first began renting the plot, and now that I’m fortunate enough to have a fairly decent growing area at my new house, I can give my allotment over to someone else.

Rents are due all over the country right now, and if you’re reading this and contemplating applying for a plot, I implore you not to wait any longer. Get in there, you really won’t regret it.

P.S. A few people have asked me if I’m still going to be blogging. Well, the answer is a big fat yes. I’ll be talking about growing veg in my garden, with a particular emphasis on cramming as much as possible into a small space. I hope you’ll continue to read. :)

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4 Comments

  1. Alan @ it's not work, it's gardening!December 12, 2012 at 12:02 amReply

    This is probably not the right time to ask, but what were the dimensions of your allotment’s growing space? How does that compare to what you have now? Finally, what does it cost to rent an allotment for a year (if you don’t mind saying)? Does the rent depend upon the state of the plot? (In other words, will the next gardener be paying more than you did?)

  2. Steve MoulsonDecember 12, 2012 at 1:56 pmReply

    1st of all Congratulation on the soon arrival of the little one, sorry to learn your going to give up your plot you’ve worked so hard on. But at least you have the garden to grow your veg in and teach the young one how to grow,will keep popping by and checking your blog out. All the best to you both.

  3. Jono

    JonoDecember 12, 2012 at 8:14 pmReplyAuthor

    Hi Alan – its funny you should mention that. I pay £18 per year (about $29) for the allotment. My new growing area is about 22ft x 15ft, which is roughly the third of the size of my allotment, so its going to be a really good challenge to squeeze as much in on the new space as I did before.

    Interestingly, the new allotment committee are giving the plots that are in a bad condition out rent free for a year to encourage people to try and turn them around. Hope the tactic works, as there are quite a few in a bad way.

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for your comment. Its going to be an exciting time for sure. Looks like you’ree a busy boy going by your blog! Will keep checking yours too. :)

  4. Happy New Year! « Out of my shedDecember 31, 2012 at 11:00 amReply

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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, three years on, 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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