Real Men Sow

Wanted: Allotment Sitter!

I’ve been a very lucky boy recently. Ailsa treated me to a surprise couple of days away for my 30th birthday, and my stag do weekend is fast approaching.

However, all this gallivanting has focused the mind on the two weeks honeymoon me and Ails will be enjoying in June.

I’ll have a wonderful time, I’m absolutely sure of that. But boy will I worry about the plot.

The Problem with Holidaying in  the Summer
I made the mistake of holidaying around this time before, about three years ago. I returned to dried out plants and a jungle of weeds. I certainly haven’t made that error again.

I’ve managed to manoeuvre Ailsa towards long weekends and October holidays. Oh, and snowboarding: ‘I really want to try snowboarding? How’d you feel about that Jono?’

‘A holiday, in Winter, when there’s bugger all happening on the allotment? Where do I sign!’

Sadly, this doesn’t quite wash with a trip-of-a-lifetime honeymoon, just married situation. Although I did try.

Why Do I Worry?
I suppose this will only make any sense to fellow gardeners and grow-your-owners, and may even sound ungrateful to some, but an allotment is like your own little baby. I cannot believe how protective I have become over my pride and joy. I’m so proud of how it looks after four years of graft, and it is a scary thought that the work me and mum put in over winter and spring will stall while I’m away.

And who’s going to carry on my successional sowing? Will I get my own little hungry gap mid summer because I was missing in action for a fortnight in June?

What about the spreadsheet?? Oh, no. Who’s going to harvest and weigh all the produce? The gooseberries?? WHAT ABOUT THE GOOSEBERRIES??

The obvious answer to all this is mum. Trouble is, mum lives 7 miles away and can’t drive. She crashed on a driving lesson when she was 17 and that was that. I think mum loves the allotment more than life itself, but even that won’t get her behind the wheel again. I’ve tried, believe me.

All this leaves me with a big, burning question:

…who do I trust with my allotment?

I’ve got a couple of friends (yes, I do have some of those, despite the spreadsheets and parsnip obsessions!), but what if they muck it up? Failed French beans could be a friendship breaker. By jove did I sulk with my best mate when he let them die.

Someone who understands an allotment would be grand – there are one or two plotholders I know reasonably well, but they’re so busy with their own patches that I’d feel bad asking them at this hectic time of the year.

Would You Like to Plot-Sit?
The perfect person, I have deduced, would be someone keen to get in to growing their own, who wants to get an idea of the work required (loads of weeding and heaving watering cans about), and the rewards reaped (bucketfuls of strawbs). Therefore, I’m contemplating putting up the poster in the picture (apologies for the rather sinister photo).

If you’re reading this, and you live near Burnham-on-Crouch, fancy a little weeding and watering, some weighing of harvests and plenty of fresh, delicious fruit and veg in exchange for your labour, please get in touch.

I’m not that stroppy or allotmentarily-neurotic really. Promise. I’m just a bit scared of what might happen without anyone’s help between June 20th and July 4th…

Be great to hear from you.

Sign up to receive a RMS weekly bite size summary, featuring all posts from the previous seven days, hints and tips and other interesting snippets from the world of veg growing.


  1. RobMay 25, 2011 at 9:35 pmReply

    Pop a tent up on the allotment for your Mum ;>)

  2. Paul @ GrowingOurOwnMay 26, 2011 at 6:11 amReply

    lol I know exactly how you feel! We got married in August in our first allotment year and lack of experience ment I really didn’t plan for it like you are and returned to chaos even though my Dad did pop up and do a bit of watering a couple of times.

    Like you I’ve now kinda slid holidays away from peak time (the old ‘avoid school holidays and it will be cheaper’ angle worked wonders on M…) so we’re getting there…

    Good luck finding a plot sitter, would have happily helped if I’d been closer. :)

  3. MariaMay 26, 2011 at 10:11 amReply

    Jono, I feel your pain! I don’t have an allotment, but even going away for 10 days in April I thought, oh no, how will my tomato/courgette/other seedlings cope? Fortunately they survived…

    If I didn’t live 2 hrs drive away I would be a very happy volunteer – I hope you find someone.

  4. RonnieMay 26, 2011 at 7:54 pmReply

    Jono that reminds me of why I wrote my post about worrying about leaving the garden or allotment in your case. It is hard enough work growing and caring for our little treasures, but it does clash with holidays doesn’t it? My next holiday is booked for the end of September… bound to be something growing I will fret over. It will all be ok though and still there where you come back xx

  5. Alan @ it's not work, it's gardening!May 27, 2011 at 11:45 amReply

    This is why you need to find a neighbor who’s really into plants, or has always thought about getting an allotment but never followed through — you do say you have some friends though… personally I wouldn’t be worried about weighing or the spreadsheet. It’s more important to have living plants than the data from a bunch of dead ones, isn’t it?

    Besides, you’re not going to be eating that produce while you’re gone, so technically it’s not meant to be on the spreadsheet.

    Concentrate on finding a halfway-competent gardener, and don’t sweat the rest of the details.

  6. JanetMay 27, 2011 at 1:25 pmReply

    Where are your priorities? You should honeymoon at home no question……

  7. JanetMay 27, 2011 at 1:26 pmReply

    Or postpone the wedding?

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.

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 ]

Buy My Book on Amazon!


Sign Here for Updates!

Sign up to receive a regular RMS bite size summary, featuring all recent posts, hints and tips and other interesting snippets from the world of veg growing.

Allotment Cakes for the Weekend

  • Allotment Cakes for the Weekend #14 – Courgette, Lime and Coconut Cake
  • Allotment Cakes for the Weekend #13 – Jamie Oliver’s Squash Muffins
  • An Allotment Cake for the Weekend #12 – Lemon Curd & Blueberry Loaf Cake
  • An Allotment Cake For the Weekend #11 – Apple and Cinnamon Flapjacks
  • An Allotment Cake For the Weekend #10 – Fresh Ginger and Apple Cake
  • Good Food Magazine Marrow and Pecan Cake
  • A Rhubarbey Roundup, and Whatever Happened to Allotment Cakes for the Weekend?
  • (Not) An Allotment Cake for the Weekend #7 Rhubarb Crumble Ice Cream

Saving £500 a year!

During 2011, I kept a diary of how much money I save from growing my own fruit and vegetables. After totalling all my outgoings, I saved approximately £500 over the year. I made a spreadsheet to calculate these savings - it’s nothing too complicated, as I’m no Excel guru, but hopefully someone else will find it as useful (and strangely fun) as me. For more info, visit my Money Saving Experiment page by clicking here.


The Veggy Social

As Featured In…

Flickr Stream