Real Men Sow

A Few Reasons to Tidy Up the Allotment Shed


One of the nicest things about winter is that downing tools allows the plotholder the time to do jobs that aren’t directly associated with veg, but important nonetheless.

Tidying the shed is just such a job. Most of us have sheds, and if you’re at all like me, they descend into an unruly mess during the busy summer months.

I’ve been carrying out my annual shed tidy this very weekend, and as usual I started by clearing the shed out completely and temporarily dumping its contents outside. I like emptying the shed – suddenly I can appreciate the space and how I can use it better.

Shelves and Storage
Installing shelves or cheap freestanding shelving units helps keep pots, packets and other allotment paraphernalia much tidier. Keep an eye out for anyone throwing out an old bedside cabinet too, as these are really useful in an allotment shed.

Another simple tip I’ve picked up is banging a few nails in to hang your spade, watering cans etc up. This equipment takes up a lot of floor space. Remember to insert the nails at an upwards angle to make sure the handles don’t slip off.

Getting Rid of the Unwanted!
This is an opportune time to delve through what’s left and decide what you do and don’t need. Be ruthless, and that includes seed packets! Us allotmenteerists are terrible seed hoarders, and I’m no exception. I’m never going to sow all the seeds I’ve got, so recently I’ve taken to swapping the ones I don’t want on Twitter.

Before you put everything else back in a lovely and tidy fashion, give the floor a sweep and check the shed for internal damage, such as rot.

Creepy Crawlies…
However, if you’re at all nervous of spiders, watch out. They’ll be loads in there, having made a cosy home for themselves. I like to go by the mantra ‘if you want to live and thrive, let a spider run alive,’ so I leave them be.

My spider-fearing wife on the other hand, she turfs the poor buggers back out to face the elements…

Tidy Shed, Tidy Mind?
Once my shed tidying is over I like to spend a little time in there pottering. Not only do I find this a therapeutic job, but there’s something symbolic about sorting out the shed. For me, it’s definitely as much part of the new season’s prep as digging over and ordering seeds, and puts me in the right frame of mind for the coming seasons. Starting out as I mean to go on, if you like.

The challenge this year is to make sure the shed stays tidy all the way through 2014. I like the feeling that an ordered shed provides, but I’m useless at keeping anything neat (including my allotment half of the time!). Time will be of the essence, so I need organisation at every turn – starting with the shed.

There must be a phrase out there for this. ‘Tidy shed, tidy mind’ anyone?


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  1. Alan @ It's Not Work, It's Gardening!December 9, 2013 at 6:59 pmReply

    I’m so jealous of anybody who has a garden shed! I’m hoping to add one to my garden next year, so in 365 days or so I’ll have something I need to tidy up too. :)

    • Jono

      JonoDecember 12, 2013 at 10:04 pmReplyAuthor

      Good luck Alan – a shed really is a man’s pride and joy!

  2. Tracy BoseDecember 11, 2013 at 12:39 amReply

    I have no real excuse for not tidying my garden shed, but the lottie one needs to stay a mess. It’s such a deterrent to thieves and vandals! The lock was broken open in a previous break-in, so I’ve left it that way. It’s filled right to the door and I have a set routine of taking out/putting away that means someone has to put in effort to get to anything worth filching. And then of course there are some ENORMOUS spiders. Seems to be working so far :)

  3. Jono

    JonoDecember 12, 2013 at 10:05 pmReplyAuthor

    Hi Tracy,

    Its funny you say that – I have a google alert set on ‘allotment’ and the amount of local news sites that brings up because of theft etc at the moment is really surprising me. Really sad. :(

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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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