Admitting defeat

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?

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9 thoughts on “Admitting defeat

  1. armaitus says:

    I used Abel & Cole for a while, they provide a good service.

    I only stopped due to the expense compared to the local farm shop.

  2. Ah, you see we don’t have a local farm shop which is near me, or open when I can get to it!

    I have been impressed wtih their service, a carton of milk went off rather quickly and I complained, they immediatley responded and put a new free one in my next delivery.

    And I don’t have to go to a supermarket, which is by far the best thing!

  3. Juliab says:

    Ahhh… don’t be too disheartened! It does take a lorralorra time!! BUT .. have you watched Alys Fowler’s “Edible Garden”?? That will give you TONS of inspiration for gardening at home. It really is a wonderful programme. I have been doing it for years and years, but still am RIVETED to her every word!

    xx

  4. dubgirl says:

    An allotment is a big commitment, is there no way that you can share it with some friends, to divide up the work, or I have heard of some allotments having a community patch whereby you can work on it for a couple of hours a week in return for some veggies x

  5. @JuliaB I have indeed seen the Edible Garden – I love it and am implementing some of her ideas, I will be continuing on at home in my own way!

    @dubgirl – without wishing to sound like billy no mates I do not have any friends who live in the area, they are all a minimum of an hour away and there are no community patches around here. I have seen one in Bristol, which is exactly the sort of thing I would like to be involved in, but nothing here – which is what prompted my comments of it all being very individualistic around here!

  6. dubgirl says:

    That is a shame, but I know what you mean, as there is little in the way of community around here to, it is all a bit sterile if you know what i mean x

  7. Elizabeth says:

    I know how it feels – we’re going through the same process at the moment and trying not to see it as a failure is hard. I think we’ve had our allotment for four years and it’s always looked scruffy compared to the retirees. That never worried me, because we were producing enough food and it felt good doing it. But it’s just too much now and I hate going over there in case the allotment chairman wants words. We’re planning a raid to retreive manure, canes etc and then focus on doing more in our own garden. It’s still not too late to get some things going in pots.
    Elizabeth

  8. we have given up our allotment due to health issues and so this year i have been doing a lot of experimental growing in our garden in the spirit of Alys Fowler~i have herbs in pots and in flowerbeds~the cucumbers are growing up among the rosemary, next to the rowan and hearts ease and i have tomatos, peas and cut and come again lettuce~if its successful i shall increase next year.
    you are right there is a block thing with having to load up and get there. now i just wander out the back door and do a little tending of my crops as its needed, day to day.

    i am sure i recognise your picture~BDO or TDN? 🙂

  9. […] (birthday, bunting, craft, create, fabric) Thank you for the recent comments, especially on my admitting defeat post – I am glad I am not the only one. And, yes I can be found lurking on The Druid Network […]

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