So, the time has finally come when I have to admit defeat on my allotment. It’s all rather sad.
Things got so hectic with my course that I couldn’t get down there for three weeks and the weeds are up past my waist. I put a pot of lavender down last time I was there and when I went back this morning I couldn’t find it – I kid you not. I struggled to get from one side to the other. This was the final straw which broke my back as I had been thinking about quitting the allotment for a couple of months. I have collected my tools, brought them home and I need to arrange how I will get the shed home and flat-packed down the side of our home shed.
Part of me is really sad about this, but part of me is much more pragmatic – everyone down on the allotment is either: retired, doesn’t work, only works part-time, or they have spent hundreds on their allotment. The person behind me has spent over £700 on their little patch, a sum which seems completely absurd to me. It requires an awful lot of time to look after an allotment, which I currently would prefer to spend on other aspects of my life. There was also a big mental block to going there – I would be GOING TO THE ALLOTMENT, which meant old jeans, three hours and a lot of aching afterwards. As a result I would only go there if I could spare three hours, rather than popping along for an hour, which I think is what is needed on a daily basis as a minimum, along with a good few hours each day at the weekend.
I also am rather sad that my somewhat idealistic aspect of the community spirit of an allotment didn’t arise. It was a new allotment, so things are being build from scratch, but I really wanted everyone to work together. I think it is far too large for that and possibly because everyone had their patch it didn’t work. I was so upset when I saw people start to fence their bit off – especially when they used the flourescent orange builders netting. It really divided the place up and made it all very individualistic. One day I will work on creating a community in the real world. This is not my first disappointment with community, I lived in one made up of 17 people in a rather strange, rambling abode above a leather shop at the top of Brick Lane in London. A topic for another post.
So, what I am doing with the tools and bits that lots of people gave me for my birthday last year? Well, I have gotten the gardening bug and so I am investing time and energy transforming our garden. When I first moved in with my OH just before I got the allotment I wasn’t comfortable doing things in his garden. Now I feel it is very much our garden and our home, so I am happy to start putting my stamp on the garden! His mum and dad put in some amazing raised beds with a lot of structured (I think the proper word is architectural) plants and so I am making flower beds around the side. I will also be doing a lot of pots as we have a large concreted over bit (nice). I have really got the gardening bug now, something which I must have inherited from my mum, and so I will be continuing to learn and grow. I will be focusing mainly on flowers and herb, especially those which can be used in herbalism.
As for food; I have signed up to Abel and Cole, who deliver local, fresh food to me once a week. This is good as it means I can pretty much avoid going to the supermarket and it will force us to eat better as the food is relatively pricey and I will feel even more guilty about throwing it away.
The end of a rather small experience for me in allotmenteering, but it has definitely made me into a gardener. Are there any other allotmenteers out there? How do you cope with it?