Real Men Sow

A Virtual Handover on My Old Allotment Plot

Screenshot 2017-03-23 at 22.11.29

Something cool happened last weekend. The gentleman who took on me and mum’s allotment after we left for Somerset has an Instagram account, and has been posting photos of his progress on the plot. The new plotholder is called Duncan and this is his second allotment on the Burnham-on-Crouch site.

My cousin put me on to this (thanks Sharon!), and Duncan and I exchanged a few messages about the rhubarb that he is starting to harvest. I’ve planted some new crowns here in my new garden, but they won’t be harvestable this year and with rhubarb being one of my favourite harvests of the year, I must confess to being envious at the bounty Duncan is currently tucking into. That was some super rhubarb on our plot, and it’s nice to see that it is going to bring more pleasure to a new plotholder. As Duncan said, ‘I like the fact that rhubarb can bring people together’.

Virtual Handover
Having a ‘virtual handover’ is quite cool, if slightly different to how I’ve done this sort of thing before, but then social media interactions is pretty much what most of Real Men Sow was / is borne out of so it seems fitting too. I’ve let Duncan know which of the fruit bushes are gooseberries, that the tree is a greengage, and there are some really good cultivated blackberries hidden behind the raspberries.

I’ve asked for a piccie of the greengage tree when harvesting time comes, as both me and mum were very chuffed with the shape it was taking. Last year, the young tree yielded a solitary fruit, but this year I reckon it will start producing good harvests. Again, I’m excited to be able to see how this develops, even if I am a little envious…

A Tinge of Sadness
Scrolling through Duncan’s pics, I’m pleased to see that the allotment is in good hands, but there’s a tinge of sadness there too. It’s funny, allotments, they’re like houses in a way. You do things how you want and they can become deeply personal, built around your choice of crops, bed patterns and design. I remember passing on my first allotment after several years of love and graft, only for my much loved driftwood raised bed to be broken up and my tree trunk bench disappear. ‘I can’t believe it,’ I exclaimed to Ailsa after a Sunday stroll around the plots, before my wife gently explained to me that crappy old bits of wood out of the local river are not everyone’s cup of tea on their allotment. Of course, she was right. As always. :)

I found the key in passing on an allotment that you’ve become very attached to was thinking about the history, and all the people who have cultivated food and tended to the soil in the years gone by. You’re the latest in a long line of guardians, all contributing to keeping the hobby and plots alive. One day, your stint will be up and the time will have come to pass the baton on to the next volunteer.

Good Luck Duncan!
And so this chance virtual coming together has given me another opportunity to take pride in what mum and me achieved on our previous plot, especially when I consider the state it was in when we first took the rent on. Chest high weeds covered every corner, but we turned it around and I like to think we saved that plot for someone else to enjoy in the future.

Thanks to the wonder of the Internet, I now know that person is Duncan. Enjoy the plot Duncan, looking forward to seeing some photos. :)

You can follow Duncan’s progress on Instagram @duncan_kemp.

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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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