I recently received an email from a lady called Liz, asking me how practical it was to take on an allotment if your only means of transport was a bike.
This was in response to one of my daft cycling/allotment hybrid posts that I’m prone to writing from time to time, and considering the amount that I use my car on my plot, got me thinking.
A few years ago, I pondered giving my car up altogether, but one of the main reasons for keeping it was so I could still cart things around when needed.
Clearing Rubbish Away
My poor little Nissan Micra takes quite a beating sadly. I use the car down the allotment a fair bit, mainly when I’m clearing weeds away and need to take them to the green waste dump on the edge of town. I’m pretty bad at keeping on top of the weeding so often end up doing it in one big sweep and have lots of bags to take down.
I do know someone who composts their weeds, and if I kept on top of things maybe I could do this but there is something about putting weeds in compost bins that I’ve never liked.
Some plotholders have regular bonfires to get rid of their unwanted weeds, but as much as I like a bonnie, you need to be around at the right time – i.e. when the wind’s not blowing in the direction of open windows and Mrs. Smith’s washing.
Liz was also worried about taking her tools to and from her allotment. The easy answer to this is ‘get a shed’, but of course, sheds cost money, and you could argue that having a set of tools just to keep down the plot is a luxury, especially if you’ve also got some at home.
I’m lucky and inherited a shed initially so my gear had somewhere to live, but over time I developed an appreciation of my shed as more than just a store for my tools. I’m fortunate enough to have space for one too, but I’d not be without it now. Besides, where else would I nip off to when I get caught short!
Merv, a nearby plotholder, keeps his tools under a tarpaulin, but depending on the area’s crime rate and the value of your tools, that might not be a practical solution.
Seedlings on a Bike?
Transporting seedlings and produce could be difficult without a car if you lived a fair way from the allotment site, but I do reckon it could be done with a bike basket and careful use of pannier bags. Someone who lives down my road reckoned he moved houses using nothing but a bike, albeit in 44 trips!
For me, the biggest problem would be manure. There are numbers I can call for manure delivery, but not having a car limits me to certain suppliers. This year I found the most amazing, well-rotted manure but without a car, I’d still be using the strawy stuff that gets delivered to the allotments.
I’ve no doubt that there are plotholders out there who get by perfectly fine without a car, so how do they do it? If that’s you, how do you get on? Are there times when you really wish the car was there, or actually, is it refreshing to be free from the car every once in a while?