Real Men Sow

Sometimes I Still Miss the Allotment

I gave up my allotment plot three months ago, but there are days when I still miss being down there.

Today was one of those days.

In the week, I found out that I could still use the allotment shop if I become an associate member. I popped in this morning, and for the princely sum of just £1.50 a year, I did just that. This was great news for me, as I used to enjoy my trips to the hut, picking up bits and bobs as I needed them. The shop is really convenient too, and all profits go back into the running of the allotments (I wrote a post about how much I loved the allotment shop back in 2011).

My associate membership gives me access to all the stock in the shop, including the cheap seeds that the hut buys through the DT Brown Garden Club scheme, as well as all the other useful stuff, like multipurpose compost.

The Knowledge
Arguably more importantly, is The Knowledge. The milder weather has brought us all out of a slumber, and this morning the shop was busy. There was plenty of chatter and advice flying about, especially where the choice of seed potato was concerned.

After buying some potting compost, I picked up a few freebie surplus pots that were left by a plotholder. I was well happy with this, as I’m in need of more pots for the coming sowing season.

Generous Folk
Best of all though, I picked up a dalek compost bin, left outside the shed with a Free to a Good Home sign. Gold dust.

The little patch of grass by the exit is veritable feast of giveaways, previously including excess plants, tools, produce and now a compost bin. I talk regularly on Real Men Sow about nabbing free items, but there is no one more generous than the allotment community. I miss that kindness.

Sneaking a Peak at My Old Plot
Whilst I was there, I couldn’t resist a sneak at my old allotment. Although the new tenant wasn’t at the plot, they’ve obviously been busy, as beds have been dug over and a pallet composting area built. I felt really content that my plot is getting worked, and the TLC that it deserves. I hope the new tenant enjoys the plot as much as I did.

Best of all, I caught up with some of the friends I’d made during my time as a plotholder. It was great to see them, and chat about their current plot beefs, and their plans for this season. At this point, I felt a pang of regret when I realised that I’d be missing out on the developments.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change my decisions, but on a lovely mild day, it was a pleasure to be reminded how genuinely wonderful allotment communities are.

I’m really happy to be able to stay in touch with the allotments, and I’m very much looking forward to my next trip to the shop. Hopefully this time I’ll be able to catch the new tenants of Plot 105 for a chinwag.

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  1. Claire BensonFebruary 17, 2013 at 9:46 amReply

    You know reading about your plot experiences you’re getting me thinking. I’ve got a veg patch already (4m x 2m) – I’d love to expand it but its rented property and the soil is slightly acidic thanks to a nearby Leilandii.

    I garden at Urban Veg with other gardening volunteers and that’s where I get the bulk of my gardening chat. You need people to talk veg with after all! There’s also a greenhouse, poly tunnel and lots of space to grow and experiment in so lots of benefits there.

    I thought about getting an allotment but I didn’t think I could fit it in with my volunteering at Urban Veg, however, if I become permanent at my current workplace there are staff allotment beds (just next to Urban Veg) and a 5 – 10 min walk from my office so I’m thinking this may be a possibility and time wise won’t over stretch. What do you think?

  2. Jono

    JonoFebruary 17, 2013 at 10:15 amReplyAuthor

    Hey Claire,

    I’m really starting to believe that sometimes, big isn’t always better. I loved my allotment, but I had much more time when I rented it.

    I think little and often is definitely the way forward, working a piece of land that is manageable for you, even if that is a few containers in the back yard. I think much more achievement and enjoyment can be felt from success on a small scale, than not so much success on a bigger one.

    From my experience, if you can’t keep up, you can become demoralised. My mum and Ailsa used to help me on the plot, which was really great for keeping on top of things.

    Your workplace sounds perfect to me. If you can nip there in your lunch hour or after work a few times a week you’ll manage fine I reckon. doubled up with Urban Veg and that could be a brilliant combination, and really satisfying.

  3. Alan @ it's not work, it's gardening!February 17, 2013 at 12:56 pmReply

    An associate membership sounds wonderful! What gardener wouldn’t want a place to not only get cheap/free supplies, but somewhere to find other gardeners eager to chat? I’d love to have a place like this nearby.

    Glad to hear your old plot is being worked!

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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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