Real Men Sow

My Favourite Beginner’s Allotment Tip: Keeping Things Small and Manageable (a bit like fishing…)


So, I’ve started selling my fishing gear. I want some new wheels for my bike, and selling my rods will help fund them.

It was with a heavy heart that I handed some of the gear to a chap at work today. I’ve had some good times with those rod and reels, and caught a few decent fish. But at the end of the day, I’ve hardly wet a line since the little guy was born.

I felt the inevitable guilt that comes with not doing something you used to love. We can’t do everything, and truth be told I went right off standing in the cold and rain for little reward, but I’m still sad that I haven’t been fishing much over the last 18 months.

So I’ve resolved to keep my bass rod, and do the fun bits. Living by the coast, I can walk down the road on a sunny evening and be fishing for bass within a couple of minutes. I’ll leave the wet, miserable nights on the beach in the past.

Of course, I hear you asking ‘what’s this got to do with allotments?’

Favourite Beginner’s Tip
Well, it reminded me of my favourite beginners tip, and one I included in a post called Ten More Tips for Beginners:

Keep things small and manageable.
Even if you are lucky enough to get a full size plot, don’t feel pressurised to use it all. An allotment can take time to get used to, and one thing I’ve learned recently is that smaller is much easier to manage.

A smaller space will also give you more time to focus on what’s important, and I’m a great believer that 10 good harvests are better than 20 average ones.

I often pressured myself to go fishing because I thought I should. ‘I was a fisherman,’ I’d tell myself. ‘Therefore you must fish,’ and that included all weathers and all species. Instead I should have just concentrated on the type of fishing I actually enjoyed, and then I might not have fallen out of love with the pursuit.

Concentrating on the Bits You Enjoy
The same goes for growing veg. Allotments can be hard work, and take up a lot of your time. If you can’t keep on top of things, it can get you down, especially if harvests suffer as a result.

This is a message I’ve taken now I’m growing in the garden. Much like any future fishing, I now concentrate on the bits I enjoy, like melons in the greenhouse, different varieties of squash and not trying to grow so much that I can’t maintain a neat and tidy plot.

So, if you’re thinking of taking on a plot, keeping things small and manageable is the best possible tip I can offer. Make sure you enjoy yourself, and grow some veg you’ll love.

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  1. SparrowgrassNovember 28, 2014 at 11:10 pmReply

    This is so true! I’ve been very tempted to take on another half plot as there are several up for grabs on my site but I’ve decided that one is enough. I’ll enjoy growing what I can keep under control but I know that too much land could easily become a burden.

  2. Jono

    JonoDecember 2, 2014 at 8:45 pmReplyAuthor

    Hey Sparrowgrass.

    I’d definitely agree with that. I reckon its more productive staying small too. We’ve had more off our well packed but more manageable half rod plot this year than we ever had off our full size allotment.

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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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