I’ve been away from the allotment for approximately three weeks and I’ve returned back to the UK just last night.
First I spent a week in Helsinki (which you can read about here), then I travelled by car through Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and then spent a good 10 days in Poland (not far from where I visited before).
While I’ve been away, I’ve tried not to think about being away from the plot, that’s not to say that in the back of my mind I keep telling myself that I’m going to be returning to knee high grass, weeds and wilted foliage – thanks to a healthy dose of rain followed by a record breaking heatwave that’s scorched Britain to a crisp.
And much to my amazement – it wasn’t as bad as I thought.
I’ve written about how to look after a plot before you go away, but after visiting the plot to see how things are this got me thinking about how to deal with a garden or allotment after returning from a healthy length of travelling or being on holiday.
Before I left I employed some tasks that you can read about then here and here in a bid to keep things under control.
The quick wins
Cutting the grass
Cutting the grass is instant gratification. Nothing beats the smell of freshly cut grass as well as the transformation it can bring. This is definitely the first thing I do when I return back to the plot.
It’s not a challenging job and it can set a good bench mark for how you want things to be going forward.
Strumming the edges
If you have wooden borders like me, you’ll know that grass will unrepentantly grow up against these borders, and your lawnmower can only cut so close.
At the moment I use a battery powered strimmer like the ones you can see here. These types of strimmers will almost certainly get you out of trouble if you need to keep things trimmed little and often (say every fortnight or so), as you’ll probably get a good half hours strumming – depending on how much you need to cut through.
For the bigger areas I’d say it’s much more worth while investing in a petrol strimmer that has virtually no time restrictions with regards to power.
Pulling out the big weeds
The above pictures show what you can achieve in as little as ten minutes or so.
Marestail, bindweed, thistles and dandelions are just a few of the more prolific weeds that’ll bolt up while you’re away and the weeds that’ll stick out like a sore thumb.
Pull these out first and you’ll see an instant transformation across the plot.
With regards to the smaller weeds, I’ll end up weeding as I go, as I re-establish a routine of hoeing little and often, pulling out the bigger weeds as I see them.
Rome wasn’t built in a day
All in all the above quick wins will probably take me a good hour and a half, to two hours – and that’s all it really takes to help get back on track. After that, it’s back to the the old routines.
If you’re anything like me, too much time away from the garden can lead to allotment withdrawal and a feeling of neglecting something.
However, the fact of the matter is, allotmenting and gardening is a hobby at its core, and because life happens, reality dictates that it’s impossible to keep up for one, two or maybe three weeks of the year – so we mustn’t get hung up too much and get back in the saddle when we can.
I’d love to read how others get back into the groove with their allotment and/or garden in the comments below. 🙂
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