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For those about to plot (we salute you)


April 21st
Today I am off to an AC/DC concert in Manchester (allotments really are living the rock lifestyle), so I don’t have a chance to get on the plot at all today, hence the hard work on the Sunday and watering last night. So today I am in a helpful and pondering mood.

It’s very laudable that gardening programs extol the virtues and benefits of growing your own fruit and vegetables, but they never tell you how long it takes to get the digging done for the crops to go in. They rarely mention the initial outlay costs you could have, in tools, plants, seeds, pots, etc. They show the ‘before’ and ‘after’ view, and you know that they have either got between the two with either a lot of hard work, a lot of manpower or a lot of money (or maybe all 3). To be fair to Gardeners World who have started a new garden now they have a new presenter, they did say how much things cost. We still can’t work out why they did what they did to a perfectly good shed or bought doors from Stoke City’s old Britannia stadium with such interest in the numbers on the door only to paint over them!

I know of a fair few people that have taken plots on and struggled to get anything reasonable for the first year because they are constantly chasing themselves whilst trying to get the plot sorted, or have problems dedicating the time to get the plot looked after, or have injured themselves after a weekends digging and then lost the drive, consequently after the winter they cannot be bothered or no longer feel the desire to grow things (on our plot there have been 2 of these in the last 4 years on a site of 10 plots). If it wasn’t for the fact that I am a stubborn sod then that could have been me a fair few years ago. It saddens me when they decide they can’t keep up with it.

I suppose the issue of injury really comes down to one of machismo and male pride. Take on a plot and suddenly ‘man the provider’ kicks in and after 3 or 4 hours of intense digging, people who don’t have a strenuous lifestyle have injured their backs or have an ache the following morning which takes the gloss off of what they are doing.

So if you are taking on a plot at the moment and need some help then I’ll offer you a few words of advice:

1) Work out what you are putting in your plot and when it wants to go in. That gives you a timeline to work to. It doesn’t matter that the plot looks like a patchwork quilt. The fully dug look will come in time.
2) Do little and often, but make hay while the sun shines. If it’s dry and you can get on the plot, then get things done, even if it’s only an hour. It can be very relaxing to do a little bit of digging after work. It is incredibly good exercise (I read that an hours digging may burn off 300-400 calories and gives you a good trunk workout and lots of fresh air) and gives you a sense of achievement.
3) Don’t panic! Nature is very forgiving, she grows at her speed. A few years ago I planted broad beans at a 2 week interval to try and get a crop over a longer period of time, and they all cropped more or less at the same time. The one thing you can’t fight is the weather.
4) Enjoy it. Whatever happens, it’s meant to be enjoyable, the minute it becomes a chore, take a step back and look at it. Why has it changed ? If you start resenting your plot and the time it takes away from you then you may want to consider something else or even a smaller plot.

Good luck to you growers, all of you, whatever you are growing, and apologies if I am preaching to the converted.

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible – honest!

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Sound advice, muddy knees - enjoy the gig.

21 Apr, 2009


good advice, great blog, rock on!!!

21 Apr, 2009


Enjoy the concert, you work hard enough! Good advice btw! Would just add that peeps forget to warm their muscles up before getting stuck in.

I did have an online knitting/crocheting friend who had a plot with her local friend. But they started resenting each other as each felt the other wasn't "pulling" their weight. So, the plot got neglected, which I thought was very sad.

You're right about the costs tho', initial outlay is expensive. That's why I love the "freecycle" on the net, peeps can get hold of gardening stuff for free if they look hard enough. That's how I met Mookins, I sent her some seeds that she requested thro' the Norwich freecycle.

ttfn, Lindsey :-)

21 Apr, 2009

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