Allotment work indoors

One of the things about allotment life that amazes me is how much ‘stuff’ goes on behind the scenes and is known to only a few. I’m not talking about arcane practices with comfrey or potting compost, but the vast amount of hard work done by allotment committees up and down the land.

I had a taste of it myself this week, spending a couple of hours ‘bagging up’ in our allotment shop. We take orders from our allotment-holders for a wide range of potatoes, onions and shallots, and when the orders arrive in HUGE bags and sacks, we then weigh out the orders we’ve received and pack them individually in (environmentally friendly) paper bags. People can then come in and collect their orders from the shop and get on with chitting their potatoes and planting their shallots, confident that they’ve only had to order what they can use, and that we’ve cast our eyes over each 25 kilo sack and rejected any that didn’t come up to the mark.

If you’ve ever had a seed or plant order arrive rotten, or dried up, or damaged, then you know how annoying it can be, not least because a lot of the time the company has sold out of your preferred variety and you have to take a substitute or a refund – neither of which is palatable when you’d hoped to have your first choice of veggies. And with spuds in particular, people have strong preferences and it can be very difficult to find new supplies of chitting potatoes if you’re let down, so you end up with something you don’t like nearly as much, just to get potatoes into the ground for the summer. So we safeguard our allotment-holders by ordering in bulk to get the best quality at the best price.

If you’re an allotment-holder with an allotment shop, spare a thought for the people who try and make sure you’ve got everything you need to make your plot productive: it’s a real labour of love!

PS in case you were wondering, that's Len, not me, I haven't been misleading you about my gender, I promise!

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Friday, December 18, 2009


Blogger Jo said...

I haven't even thought about placing an order for my spuds yet. I'm still deciding what to grow next year.

December 18, 2009 at 9:20 AM  
OpenID said...

hey...a great post...I never thought about all the work our committee puts in....maybe I will offer to help out next year as I am a huge fan of using the shop, they are cheap, reliable and very friendly!!

December 19, 2009 at 10:38 AM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Well Jo, we're just experimenting as it's our second year on the plot - we're growing Cara, Wilja and Maris Bard: 7lb of each variety as chitting potatoes. Essentially we'll grow different potatoes every year for four years and then work out which ones performed best for us. It's a long term project ...

Tanya, thank you for your kind words, and I'm sure your committee would love to have you on board - we can never have enough volunteers at our shop, and it's a lot of fun!

December 21, 2009 at 6:40 AM  

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