It's that time of year when the allotment is thriving and looking good, the weather is maybe being kind and the greenhouse stays hot. It's also the time when holidays or short breaks are taken. One problem with owning the allotment is leaving it for a while. Is it going to be safe? Watered? Will the livestock survive?
Here is a basic list of to-dos to help with the holiday dilemma:
Find someone reliable and trustworthy to be the caretaker for the time you are away. Let only trustworthy allotment friends know, and tell them who is going to be key holder, and for how long.
Offer the caretaker anything ripe in the plot for his/her help especially continuously cropping plants such as peas and beans. This will ensure that no pods mature and the plants switch off their flowering mechanism, even if it means composting some crops.
Leave available - hosepipe attached to water if possible and filled watering cans near to plants.
Plant all new seedlings to let them get established, but try not to leave very tender plants to inexperienced caretakers.
Leave any plant foods close to plants with your instructions attached.
Disbud plants/flowers with large blooms.
Move tools or machinery to a secure, safer property or make sure they are locked securely and marked with identity pen. Make sure all your locks and security chains are in working order.
Harvest all ripe produce before going away.
Clean out all livestock and give medication prior to leaving so the caretaker has only basic tasks to do.
Check around the allotment for any loose fencing or structures and repair them in case of winds whilst away.
Check all growing plants are tied up securely and canes and supports are in place.
Give any last treatments / organic cures for insect pests if you use them
Turn and water the compost heap to help it do its work whilst you are away.
Leave contact details of someone close (relative) with more personal information for emergencies i.e break ins. Leave your contact details with relatives.
Most of all go away, enjoy your holiday and be prepared for lots of weeds and some failures when you return. you will soon get it back on track.
THANK the caretaker.