greentapestry : Time To Say Goodbye

Saturday, 27 February 2021

Time To Say Goodbye


Well it was time to say goodbye to my allotment at the end of last year after much soul searching. It had got to the stage where fretting about it rather than enjoying it was. I had been debating the issue of whether to call it a day for some considerable time feeling that I've not been doing either the garden or the allotment justice. Then falling over in the autumn of 2019 resulted in two broken bones in my right hand. Originally I thought that I would catch up with any remaining autumn tidying and preparation come the spring and perhaps sow fewer crops last year. Although my hand has regained it's strength it is certainly not the same and does twinge and ache from time to time. 

Events in the outer world meant that I was very cautious last spring although it was legal to visit and tend the allotment which was deemed as exercise. Himself has always been excellent about taking me there and collecting me after an allotment session but my other mode of transport which was to get there and back by bus became a non starter. 

When I did get there it was a case of rushing to my plot and shutting myself in. This was not always as simple as it may sound. Walking up and down the main path there was a good chance of crossing paths with other plot holders some of whom had no concept of social distancing. I appreciate the fact that we were outside but I still found this disconcerting. As the year unfolded I visited the allotment less and less and it helped me reach the conclusion that perhaps I wouldn't miss it at all I didn't have a plot. I did feel tremendously guilty though that I wasn't utilising the plot to its full extent and that somebody else who was on a long waiting list could. That combined with the feeling that once this state of limbo is behind us I don't want to be committed to the same extent. There are places to go and gardens to visit whilst we are both still able. Having an allotment a big commitment which you can't afford to turn your back on for more than a couple of weeks. If you do you are asking for trouble. Himself is delighted with my decision.

As I said giving up the allotment had already been in the back of my mind for some time. With that in mind I grew a few annual and half hardy annuals in the garden last year and also French beans to see how they fared. My garden at home is much shadier than the allotment. The flowers including my favourite sweet peas did well on the whole but the French beans faltered. Possibly the fact that they were grown in front of a wall didn't help. We dismantled three of the relatively new raised beds that himself had installed and these have now been found homes in the garden and were filled with a vegetable friendly growing medium last week.

I'm now having fun deciding what I can fit into my reduced growing space. I plan to  grow cut flowers, herbs, strawberries, French beans, shallots, kale, beetroot, salady stuff and courgettes in the first instance. I hope to squeeze in a few of my favourite salad potatoes 'Charlotte' probably in containers and of course there will be tomatoes which I've always grown at home. I'm sure that one or two crops will squeeze their way in. 

What I will not miss? Well allotment life is not all a bed of roses or perhaps in this case I should say a bed of cabbages. Sadly over the years there have been upsetting incidences of vandalism and theft. I will not miss the fact that there inevitably seems to be some internal feuds going on and it is sad to say that in this day and age some women on the site felt that were bullied by a handful of men. I will not miss the lean over the fence and give you so called advice types who never once offered to lend a hand. I will not pine over the fact that to get to my plot for a good few months of the year involved slip-sliding through mud. This was a normal winter happening but the photo below was taken one July day in 2022.

What will I miss? I will miss my lovely apples trees which I have left for the next plot holder to enjoy. I did consider bringing my apple trees, well two of the three, back home. I apparently should have done some preparation work at least a year in advance beforehand if I had transplanted them so decided to let them be. A new tree for the garden is on its way - an eater called 'Sunset' which was my favourite of the three. I will miss the thicket of the delicious autumn fruiting raspberry' Polka', as well as the gooseberry and currant bushes. 

I will miss growing crops that like the sunshine such as sweetcorn. I will miss the visiting birds and bees which varied from those visiting the garden. I will miss the community fun days that the allotment association supported over the years. Hard work but most rewarding. 

I will miss my lovely well established stipa gigantea grass which lapped up the sun there. I will start again with one in the garden. Above all though I will miss the camaraderie of fellow plot holders, exchange of growing tips and the generous swapping and gifts of plants and crops. I do have invitations though to call in at any time and catch up on what is happening. No doubt I will report back here on the progress of my new home allotment over the next few months. Hopefully before long I will be tucking into a bowl full of some strawberries like these again.


In the meantime I wouldn't have missed the experience for anything and count myself privileged to have been an allotment plot holder.


20 comments:

  1. There's a time for everything, Anna, and I think it's important to know when this time has come and then –most of all– not to be depressed but to look forward and embrace the next chapter which will have its own magic. Wishing you all the best for it xx

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    1. Thanks very much for your good wishes Annette. No feelings of regret so far and as you suggest I'm looking forward to that next chapter πŸ˜„

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  2. Sounds like the right decisions for you. Martyn and I have always said that we couldn't keep an allotment garden unless we were both interested in it. It's something we share. I know just what you mean about allotment politics like all other areas of life there are some individuals who are only happy when stirring up trouble. We have them too which is why I packed in being involved in what was our Allotment Association which for the same reason is no more,

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    1. Yes it's the right decision Sue. I wish that himself had the same interest but although he is excellent on construction projects the allotment planting and maintenance never appealed to him. He enjoyed eating the produce though πŸ˜‚ So much easier and more companionable if there are two of you working a plot. Yes my involvement in the allotment association tailed off for the same reason and likewise the association is not the force it was.

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  3. It was really interesting to read more about your allotment, Anna, and how you plan to continue growing some of your crops at home. It is clear that it was the right decision for you, but nevertheless I can understand why there is a hint of guilt. Breaking those bones along with Covid probably brought forward a decision that no doubt would have come at some time anyway. Look forward to seeing more of your garden in future perhaps!

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    1. I think that decision would have come soon anyway Cathy but perhaps it was speeded up.
      I'm looking forward to the next chapter and growing fruit and veg in a different space. At least I can me more lenient on my weeds than any allotment inspection would be πŸ˜‚

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  4. Aah, it’s sad to read, but at least you have a garden so you won’t miss all the fresh veggies and for any you do miss, just wander over to the site to visit your ex-plot buddies 😊

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    1. Thanks for visiting Belinda and for your lovely comment πŸ˜„

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  5. Now you have made the decision, the way forward will become clearer. I too was sad when I had to leave my allotment, but also have some happy memories. You have had some wonderful produce, and I am sure that you will both enjoy adjusting your home garden. At least you will be able to step out of your back door straight to pick sun ripened fruit and veg.

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  6. Isn't a difficult decision Noelle but I know that it was the right one. I have been dithering about it for a good while. You've hit the nail on the head. What I will enjoy the most is nipping out whenever it suits and doing a bit here and there rather than regular marathon sessions. Best of all it will really be a case of plot to plate at rapid speed πŸ˜‚

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  7. It seems you will have a lot of veg and fruit in your garden at home and it will be so much more convenient for you. And you will be able to harvest those strawberries perfectly ripe without worrying about transporting them! Sounds like a well thought out decision Anna, and I wish you lots of fun working on your 'home allotment'. :-)

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    1. Thanks for your good wishes Cathy. Yes the strawberries will certainly appreciate a quicker journey in to the kitchen πŸ˜„

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  8. Sounds like the right decision for you Anna and I know it's one you've thought about long and hard just like I did. I'm enjoying my patio allotment these days and it's surprising how much can be squeezed in - you'll find the raised beds invaluable. It's great to be able to do one garden well instead of two badly. Welcome to a not-so-conflicted gardening life! x

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    1. Yes it was a decision that needed a lot of thought VP but so far no regrets. It's great to hear that you're enjoying your patio allotment and as you so aptly say a not so conflicted gardening life πŸ˜‚ xxx

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  9. On to your new adventure in your own garden. Sad to say goodbye but change should be good.

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    1. Well they say that a change is good as a rest guys πŸ˜‚

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  10. You know those leaving gifts at work. I vividly remember a set of gardening tools, and the luminous joy as a young woman told us, about the waiting list, and she has a plot, and, it's all organic!!
    Allotments are something I know from England and Switzerland. Recently we have a trickle of Neighbourhood Farms, and school veg gardens. But nothing like allotments.
    Now you can enjoy nipping out for a bit of ... without a mission to get there first!

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    1. Oh thank you Diana πŸ˜„ As you so rightly say I can now nip out whenever I want and also never need to worry about forgetting to take any vital tools or equipment with me. I can also come in when I want to and put the kettle on πŸ˜‚

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  11. I can appreciate your struggle in making this decision, Anna. I'm currently on the fence on a somewhat similar decision about whether to recommence work as a volunteer at my local botanic garden. The garden furloughed us in March 2020 and made little effort to stay in touch. The docent role I performed is still on hold but now they want us to act as special event guides and they're attaching all sorts of new demands in the process. Meanwhile, I'm thinking that volunteering with the local food bank would be more rewarding. I'd hate to lose the friends I made at the garden if I leave, though.

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    1. These sorts of decisions are so hard to make Kris and I thought for a long time before I decided to give up the allotment. It sadly sounds as if you have not been particularly cherished in your volunteer role during recent months and that perhaps more is been expected of you in the future. I've told myself that although I won't see my friends at the allotment as regularly I will still keep in touch with them one way or another. Good luck with whatever you decide to do 😘

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All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at : thegreentapestry@gmail.com

NamastΓ©

- Anna.