Sunday, 20 June 2010

Disheartened Digging

There's no escaping the fact that this is the first blog post in a while. Whilst the World Cup has admittedly played its part in the lack of gardening updates, another factor is plain and simply that, for the first time in my very short gardening life, I am feeling thoroughly unmotivated and disheartened - and judging by the picture above, it's not hard to see why!

I've no doubt that every gardener has faced this feeling at some point or another. The arrival at the allotment, only to find that so many of your crops are being devoured and destroyed by pests. All of that hard work; sowing, growing, looking after, watering – all to have the plants eaten in a day by a multitude of shameless pests.

Now, I'm fully aware that I have to keep plodding on – battling pests is part and parcel of gardening and has been for centuries. This is simply my first encounter with them, having previously only enjoyed the pest-free confines of a sterile balcony.

Another issue that I think is relevant in my situation, is the distance between myself and the allotment. The journey is 2 miles, which takes 40 minutes walking at a fast pace, or 20 minutes jogging. Either way, each visit requires planning, thought and consideration and many times, I feel as if I'm lacking access to core materials.

For example, while many other allotment owners use old bits of wood to create frames; mesh for protection etc., it's often hard for me to get hold of these items and also to transport them from the flat to the allotment. It's a different kettle of fish for gardeners who either have a car, or literally live around the corner.

Nevertheless, this is my first attempt at gardening 'in the wild' so to speak. I am learning so much already, and despite being disheartened, am turning these learning curves into positives – by that, I mean that I am using my mistakes to learn how to do things better next time and also, using them to share with readers of the London Vegetable Garden!

I shall be putting together some of these tips next week, so watch this space!


  1. Hi Callum. I've just started my gardening adventure. Mainly in pots on a patio, not because I haven't got the room but because the wife thinks the garden is for flowers and doesn't want a big "patch of dirt" to look at.
    I have taken a great deal of encouragement from reading your blog, both the archive and the posts from this your and I just thought I'd say thanks and hope the knowing you have helped others intern helps your feel that what you are doing Is worth the effort. As to having problems getting things to your allotment, look around you I bet any number of the other allotment holders would lend a hand, you would not believe the number of people at work that I have never spoken to who have given me plants or advice. Needs pots on the allotment? Read a paper on the way and make paper pots. Look around on your way to the allotment and tale advantage of any oportunities you see. Anyway keep up the good fight.

  2. Hay Callum, I'm glad it's not just me! I think moving up to a "proper" Allotment is in the first year a lot bigger move than we anticipate. Like you I too have become a little dis-heartened in my first year. Not by the fact that my crops have been devoured by pests but by the sheer amount of weeds that have grown. My plot is absolutely covered in mares tail! The more I dig it out the more it grows. Infact it seems that it is the only thing I am truly great at growing! Hence no blogging and no pictures. Thinking about it though I've got some great spuds, garlic, onions, beans and courgettes that I will eat in the coming months so perhaps all isn't quite that bad. It also doesn't help that the allotments surrounding mine have have not a weed in sight and the blogs I read are all better than mine. My advice to you. Sod everyone else do it for yourself and take what enjoyment you can from it. Don't let it become a chore and if that all fails just remember everyone says it gets easier after the first year. Good luck!

  3. It's not just me then! My favourite things we have transported by bike so far: 8ft bean poles (we looked ready for urban jousting), 50 m roll of bright orange safety fencing (to keep the deer out), several trays of veg (slight bag lady look). Best of luck, Callum!

  4. Yes, the problem with allotments is that all the pests don't have far to travel to find new prey...

    Collectivisation and crop rotation is the solution, but that brings all kinds of human organisation problems.

  5. Great blog................
    Thanks for the interactive information.



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