As the old saying goes “Rome wasn’t built in a day” – and it’s exactly the same with allotments and gardening.
No matter what size plot or garden you have, if you’re working the area each week and chipping away little and often, at some point you’re going to reach the half way mark, and it’s at this very point that you should stop, sit back and take stock of one’s achievements.
Recently, I lifted the paving slabs on the middle path, dug over the path and laid down weed suppressing material to minimise weed growth over the summer. This for me was symbolic of reaching the half way mark with redoing the plot.
It’s great to sit back every now and then to see how things were and to look ahead to what they could be. This reflection had spurred me on even more to keep going and finish what I set out to do in September of last year.
What I’ve learnt in the last 6 months..
Ditch the deadline
I’ll admit that I haven’t set myself any hard or fast deadlines with regards to getting the plot finished, or at best, how I want it. When I visit the plot, I usually go with one or two jobs in mind (cutting the grass, clearing a certain area…etc) and over time these little changes result in big differences.
Sticking to this habit not only helps to keep everything on track, but also helps to reinforce a sense of achievement with each visit. Once that job is complete, anything after that point is a bonus, or I can just go home safe in the knowledge that I’ve done what I wanted to do.
Making jobs achievable
Following on from the above, it’s very easy to get carried away and trying to do too much in one go. Not only will you feel tired – but the thought of visiting the plot and doing a bit of gardening will slowly feel like a chore (In my opinion).
For instance, this week, I organised the wood that would make up the first bed on the other half of the plot.
My goal for the next visit is to chop the wood to the correct lengths. The visit after that would be to build the bed. My senses tell me, that cutting the wood and building the bed to size is too ambitious, so I can justify pacing it out over two or three sittings.
If it turns out that I get both of the jobs done together, then it’s a bonus.
Sticking to a plan-ish
I don’t have a set plan for my allotment – I’m kind of just thinking ahead one meter at a time when it comes to digging areas over and creating new beds and paths. Arguably, I see that mindset is a plan in itself and sticking to this dovetails nicely into the “Keeping jobs achievable” bit.
Just like the “keeping jobs achievable” bit this is a tactic which will undoubtedly pay off in the long run.
For example, take a look at these before and after pictures after 10 months or so.
Be open to new habits
You may have read recently that I attended a talk with Charles Dowding, and this was exactly the shot in the arm I needed when it comes to learning about new things and keeping things manageable and on track.
I’ve been picking up new habits as I’ve gone along and these include.
1. Building narrower beds
2. Covering unused ground
3. Hoeing little and often
We’ve just had the longest day here in Britain so I’m wondering if I should start collecting and storing cardboard to cover the beds with over the winter months – a take home from the Charles Dowding talk.
Going no-dig is an idea I’m toying with at the moment and it makes total sense thus far.
Have you reached the halfway mark? How are you celebrating that achievement?