losing the plot on the plot

When I mention I’ve got an allotment, people often assume I’m some kind of kaftan-wearing vegan earth-mother, whose kids have never tasted Haribo. Yeah, right.

In reality, we just don’t have space for a veg patch at home. One day we might move to the sticks (if Unhusband gets his own way) but until then, it’s an allotment in suburbia.   And for a few hours a week, I pretend I’m living The Good Life – while trying to ignore the roar of the M25 in the background.

There are days when the sun shines, the beans grow, and the kids graze contently among the raspberries, when I think: ‘yes, we could do this. We could move to the country and live in a self-sufficient bubble, with a few chickens and a Kath Kidston egg basket.’

There are other days, when all I want is a strong coffee and a Kit Kat Chunky. There are days when it pisses with rain, the slugs eat the lettuces, the kids trample on the seedlings and I think:  ‘why do I bother having an allotment and growing veg, when I could just save time, and my vertebrae, and go to Tesco. Actually, sod that, I’ll just order it online.’

Like the other weekend. I’d just started weeding, when I heard the familiar cry: ‘Mummy, I need a poo!’ Brilliant. I swear she saves them up for moments like this.

I spent the next five minutes faffing around with a carrier bag and a plant pot (note to self – bring potty next time) while D answered the call of nature.   We then had to make an unscheduled trip to the nearest dog poo bin, as human waste is not compostable.

By the time we got back, it’s was J’s turn.  ‘Mummy, I’m hungry.’   ‘What do you mean you’re hungry?  Pull up a carrot, eat some raw beans!’

Poos and snacks sorted, I returned to the insurmountable task of weeding, while trying to ensure the kids didn’t drown in the water trough or fall through the greenhouse.

Just as I was about to give up, I had a brainwave. ‘Do you know this used to be pirate territory?’ I said, hopefully. Fortunately, they fell for it. ‘Really?’ asked J, his brain popping with possibilities.

They spent the next hour digging an almighty hole. Sadly, no gold was discovered. But they settled for some interesting stones instead.

At the end of the day, my back was killing, but there were marginally fewer weeds than when we arrived.  The kids had eaten at least three of their five a day, without me even lifting a saucepan, and we had a load of veg to take home.  I guess I’ll be back next weekend then. Just as long as it’s not raining. Not sure what to do with that hole though. 


About Becky Dickinson

Mum of three. Writer, blogger, grower. Trying to keep my head above the compost heap.

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  1. I have an allotment. Well, technically I do. Actually, you’ve just reminded me that I’m probably due to pay for it. Aargh.

  2. Wow, is it your pumpkin? And butternut squashes and all the rest? That’s amazing! How are you btw?

    • Hi Peggy, sorry for the late reply. Yes, surprisingly we still got a reasonable harvest, despite the weather, slugs and everything else going on! How are you? Are you going to Blogfest?

  3. Hello!! 😀
    Just stumbled across your blog/site as I was searching for some magical solution to being a ‘now’ single mum allotment holder! Only got it last may ( maybe April) and despite growing a bit last year I’ve got so much to sort and do its unreal!!
    Two girls one 9 & other 1!! So ones bored and the other now running off!! Need some ideas for a kid safe/ proof zone on a zero budget and no car to salvage stuff from elsewhere! 🙁 tried from nearby building work and they weren’t happy! Oops.
    Bit late but just starting to plan this year out…just found my onion sets already sprouting but I’ll chuck them in regardless!
    My plots smack in between ‘Lady Penelope’ ( she has a Gardner) and ‘Perfect George’ ( had his plot 25yrs) not a weed anywhere!! Lucky me!?!
    Wish me luck!? Love how you put it how it is!!

    • Hello!! Thanks for reading and commenting. Oh, I feel for you – allotmenting with kids (and no time) is hard – but stick with it, it is worth it. I’m no expert (obvs!) but advice would be stick to a few simple reliable crops – courgettes, beans, cucumbers etc and don’t worry too much about the weeds, just do what yu can. I never manage to get on top of them and stuff still grows – even if I don’t have the prettiest plot on the site. I really need to get back to mine, have hardly been last couple of months (as lack of recent blog shows!) Good luck and let me know how it goes. Don’t give up !!

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