Slow painting

Saturday 28 December 2013

It's a shed thing

The decision had been made and I was comfortable with it - happy even.  We had rationalised that with parental illness on both sides and the need to travel more frequently to help out in house and garden (and both parental houses have large gardens) our time for allotmenteering was going to be even more squeezed.  Add to that my husband starting a new job, and our wish to get out of Edinburgh more, and everything seemed to add up to a sensible decision not to renew our allotment lease.  

Having made the decision, I tested it out on my emotions when I visited the plot in early December.  What pangs of regret would I feel?  I tried not to dwell on the 'glad to see the back of', such as the endless battle with couch grass, the heavy soil, the feeling of obligation at spending sunny Sundays at the plot instead of out on the Scottish hills.  Perhaps because they were the only things growing, I did feel a pang about leaving the blackcurrant bushes and strawberry plants.  But once home again I returned to my calm, settled conviction that giving up the plot was the right thing to do, and began to plan for weekends away.

And then the gales came.  We dutifully visited the plot afterwards to check the state of the shed roof.  Although we were giving up very shortly, we didn't feel we could hand over a shed that we had let deteriorate through the worst of the winter months.  A section of tar paper had blown off, and it was decided that husband and son would return the following weekend to repair it.

They were out all afternoon, returning after dark.  A good, solid repair had been carried out, and another decision made.  We were keeping the plot for a further year, on the basis that so much investment had been made in infrastructure that we should try to maximise our return.

I sat and thought about the infrastructure.  Blackcurrant bushes?  Strawberry plants?  Two compost bins?  Posts for wires up against which to train non-existent raspberries?  There is nothing else - no paving, no fencing, no greenhouse, no fancy border edging or raised beds.  So I concluded that the only possible 'infrastructure' was the shed, and set about doing a mental U-turn towards planning and sowing.  And perhaps hopefully still some weekends out of Edinburgh.  


Sue Garrett said...

Using the weed control fabric this year has certainly cut down time needed on the plot.

Anonymous said...

I can understand your decision and your dilemma. There are always other things you could be doing but just imagine sitting outside your shed on a warm summer afternoon relaxing and surveying your plot ... sound good????

Mal said...

You had me going there, Linda. But who would leave a spanking great shed like that and not regret it?

Seriously, I know you've had your trials (and like so many things you describe we have parallel ones here) but do stick with the allotment. There are outgoings but there are returns too. For a number of years I adopted the 50% potatoes strategy. I commend it if the (non allotment) demands of the next year look taxing. It halves the maintenance problem but still allows you room for variety in what is left. Currently my potatoes are less than 20% of the plot as I have got more time now that the family is growing up and away. But I only have a plot now because of this strategy.

Some day we'll have to compare notes on our parallel lives (Aberdeen/Edinburgh etc)

Mark Willis said...

A tough decision to make, but the important thing is to do what feels right. There is no point in persevering with the allotment if it gives you no pleasure. Maybe you should divert your blog in a different direction and start doing some creative writing, or cooking, or craft work...?
Hope you manage OK with providing the family care that you mention. Best Wishes for 2014 anyway.

Linda said...

Sue, we have a weed-stop membrane on one bed, and it kept things at bay a bit. However we have lost quite a few covers in gales, no matter how many pegs we put in. Dilemma - Scottish thrift v. weeds!

Linda said...

Elablue, that mental image is one that I'm trying to conjure up just now - it may help!

Mal, I could leave the shed behind quite happily - it's my husband who's deeply attached to it. We had a pretty dire tattie crop this year. I grew Mayan Gold and Charlotte. The Mayan Gold boiled away to soup before they were cooked, so we could only use them for soup. I was very disappointed in them - they were grown because Monty Don said they were his favourite potato. The Charlotte had a very small yield and were wormy, even tho they were grown in ground not used for tatties for 3 years. I might go for red clover and phacelia sown in the spring for cover and so that the bees get the benefit of it.
I am also really wanting not to be scunnered for when we move north eventually and take on a big garden (big by Edinburgh standards).

Mark, I think we're going to give it a try on as stress-free a basis as possible, for one more year. I already have another blog, with photos from Scotland. My aptitude for crafts is less than zero - I am emotionally allergic to knitting and sewing. If we get some salads and blackcurrants and strawberries out of the plot I'll be happy.

Kris said...

I can only imagine how you agonized back and forth on that decision. I know how hard it is to let go, especially when you have such a history with the plot. Still, I'm glad you are going to give it a go one more season and will look in to follow your 'farewell' tour. I hope the gales subside soon and that you return to your regularly scheduled winter season. Take care and Happy New Year! :-D

Amanda said...

Glad I'm not the only garden blogger who's emotionally allergic to knitting and sewing (going to steal that phrase from now on, by the way!). Good luck with the plot this year - hope you manage to balance all the priorities with the pleasures in a fulfilling manner!

Rainy Day Gardener said...

Such tough decisions Linda! I like the stress free gardening idea. I hope it works the way you want it too. Wishing you a Happy 2014!