Allotment Diary

Christmas time and allotment withdrawal

It’s Christmas Eve and I’m sitting here with a cup of tea, Santa Claus the movie (arguably the best Christmas film ever made) and a box of Victoria biscuits by my side reflecting on a topic that comes around in my mind every year and that’s allotment withdrawal.

Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy Christmas, but each year it arrives more prematurely than the last and becomes all time consuming, which naturally pushes your normal routine out of sync.

It usually starts with the clocks going back and the nights drawing in sooner, followed by a turn in the weather, leaving the ground either too frozen to work in or too sodden. 

Nic Dempsey touched upon this exact same scenario on her post: Allotment Adventures: We did nothing.

What comes next is the usual festive madness that involves socialising, the purchasing, wrapping and sending of presents and cards. While all of this carries on, time for gardening becomes limited and the next thing you know, it feels like time has run out.

At this point I can hear you asking…

What is allotment withdrawal? 

Allotment withdrawal involve feelings of anxiety, pressure or wanting that occur when one hasn’t had a fix of gardening or going to an allotment for a longer period of time than expected.

Said by someone at some point, somewhere… Probably. 

At this time of year, my average allotment visit rate is approx. once every two or three weeks – which puts more of an emphasis on the fact that the time I spend at the allotment is precious. 

We’re experiencing quite a fairly mild winter currently, which means that the weed growth remains slow but consistent as the winter months drudge on.

I’m generally quite grateful for the lack of weed growth as it’s given me a chance to really crack on with re-building the beds at the plot and this is where I’m at so far.

I don’t think I’m the only one suffering from allotment withdrawal, Richard Chivers from Sharpen Your Spades has touched upon this on Instagram.

Dealing with allotment withdrawal

At the beginning of November, I found myself going to the allotment with a plan or a set of tasks that I was determined to complete and I have to say that it’s helped to keep everything on track – and subside the allotment withdrawal. 

The reason being is that I’m coming away from the plot thinking, “Ok, I achieved what I set out to achieve” and so I feel less bad or anxious about the space of time between visits. 

I’m also reminding myself that it’s ok to prioritise other aspects of your life, especially at this time of year, so I’m not being too hard when I plan to go to the allotment – and for one reason or another you never make it.

I’m also taking the time away from the allotment to do some research on different plants and what I want to grow in the year ahead. This helps keep up the momentum and for me personally, I’m looking into growing the more perennial plants and deciding what varieties I like and which ones I’ve had the most success from.

All of the above has really helped and I’m now wondering if others have similar sentiments when it comes to gardening and juggling a busy lifestyle.

Are you suffering from allotment withdrawal? I’d love to know your thoughts.

Merry Christmas and good tidings for 2019!

3 replies on “Christmas time and allotment withdrawal”

Oh yeah, the problem is that nothing much is growing so most of the work is longer term stuff, like your beds (nice job by the way!) and you do need a particular type of weather, not raining, the ground can’t be too wet if you’re digging, it can’t be too cold (frozen ground as bad as sodden ground) and it’s all a bit tricky. As noted I get there to take the kitchen scraps and coffee grounds and we do a bit of tidying. I’m trying to make time to top up my beds before spring and sowing starts but I’m not too upset if I don’t get there.
I’m dealing with it by thinking of if as a ‘fallow time’, soil needs rest and renewal and so do we. This is the planning /dreaming time before it all goes nuts in the summer and you have to go a couple of times a week to tend and water.
Have a good Christmas and a Happy New Year with lots of gardening in it.

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