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Taking on allotment while pregnant with newborn


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  • Taking on allotment while pregnant with newborn

    I signed up for an allotment in my local area last year thinking it would take about 5 years to get a plot. I have just been emailed by my council offering me one. Its not a large plot but not a small one either.

    I'm pregnant and will be about 7 months when I would take it over and I have a two year old, she'll be closer to 3 by then. I'm thinking it's going to be too much for me to manage while pregnant and then with two kids but it's actually a good plot in a nice allotment site and although it hasn't been well maintained I can arrange for the council to strim it back. I'll have varying degrees of help from my husband.

    I have a tiny space, I mean space, in my garden that I have successfully maintained as well as growing other bits in containers but I have such a small garden, it would be nice to have the space back for the lawn for some more play space.

    I was thinking if I did take it on I could just try my best and just dig it back over my maternity leave and plant some very easy to manage vegetables and fruits. My daughter loves gardening with me and I'd love to give over a corner to her and her soon to be sibling for outdoor play while I manage the plot.

    My worry is, if I give it up I could be waiting a long time before the next plot becomes available.

  • #2
    Cover most of it with card. And just plant up a small section a little at a time.
    Adding in fruit bushes / permanent etc would mean you aren't digging loads of beds.
    When my kids were little I spent loads of time outdoors so I actually was able to do quite a lot on my garden ( I have a huge plot at home)
    But don't underestimate a plot. They really do suck your time. Just picking stuff takes ages for me.


    • #3
      I'm no expert(being a bloke) but digging doesn't sound like the sort of job you should be doing. Key thing is not to try and do too much, little and often. This might help
      If I'm not on here, I'm probably fishing.


      • #4
        Could you get put back a bit on the list,seven months pregnant,I had to stop going to the gym before that because certain movements,you donít want to strain yourself,the council would understand?


        • #5
          On the other hand you could take it on,but take it easy until after babyís born,would you be able to not do anything for a couple of months,just cover with cardboard,light cardboard,can you get help when you first go there. When is the due date (you donít have to say on here,just in your head) because thereís not much to do out there in the next few months you could manage it. After babyís born you can plant a big patch of potatoes,squash,sweetcorn,beans etc sow a lettuce patch direct doesnít take long,a lot of plants donít need much care except water during summer,have you got water on the site?


          • #6
            First I’ll say hello and welcome to the vine
            You’ve had some good advice especially about covering the area with card that’s what I’d do then plant through the card to help keep down the weeds, that way the plot won’t look overgrown and neglected.


            • #7
              I will get in before someone else you could always look at no dig


              • #8
                One other idea is to ask what the ‘turnover’ is like on plots at that site. Ours is quite a big site, so half a dozen plots become free most years - if that’s the case, you could easily ask your ‘signing up for allotment date’ to be deferred for a year or two


                • #9
                  I worked my mini plot while pregnant then took on a full plot (first half then the whole thing) when my daughter was a few months old. I found it hard going by 7 months along and imagine chasing a toddler about would make it harder. I also found it hard to get out to the plot with the baby because first it was cold and she was tiny, then she was bigger and wanted interaction/entertainment. However, my husband helped at the plot. We covered everything with black plastic and slowly dug out the weeds then planted fruit trees and bushes plus a few flowers I had managed to start from seed. We took turns wrangling the baby when necessary. My allotment committee is very understanding and encouraging. They were happy that we made a lot of progress and we didn't have stringent requirements to meet. Even though we got very limited time out there this year, it was so good for clearing our heads and getting outside. I think it depends on several factors, but with family help and an understanding committee, it can certainly be doable. I have a similar thread somewhere on here where people gave similar advice to what's been said by the others.


                  • #10
                    Another recommendation on covering in cardboard..

                    Cut holes in it and plant spuds, then when the time is right go to your local GC and buy plug plants for anything you fancy growing.

                    If all you get in the first 2 years is spuds, squashes and cabbage then so be it, much better than nowt.


                    • #11
                      You say you will be 7 months pregnant when you take over the plot but you don't say when that will be. Assuming it will be shortly, that means the baby is due January(ish). Not a lot doing on allotments between now and March(even later up here) so you won't have to throw yourself into things for a while.

                      Someone has suggested covering the plot in card. Some folks will cover their plots with cardboard and with Christmas coming up the bicycle shops will have loads available so get in there and stake your claim


                      • #12
                        Hi and welcome to the vine

                        It might be worth asking what the chances are of you getting another plot if you turn this one down.

                        Having said that, it all depends on how much time is available to you, and what stance you take on getting the children involved and able to entertain themselves on the plot (whilst keeping safe, of course!). You might find that the baby sleeps best in the fresh air :P

                        I also recommend reading up on the no dig method. I work full time, often more than my 40 hours a week and only really have time to go to my two plots at a weekend. In one year, I've managed to get both of them pretty much under control, using no dig. I spend no more than five hours each week at the plots, so it's doable on less time if you don't have to spend the whole time weeding


                        • #13
                          Hello, welcome to the vine and congratulations on your pregnancy.

                          As @Aberdeenplotter has suggested, the season is important to a degree, also being a bit late in planting just means you avoid the last of the foul cold weather. Once plants are established a couple of weeks early makes little difference to most harvests (there are exceptions like Chillies that need a long season).

                          I would say get it strimmed, cover as much as you can in cardboard covered in whatever mulch you can get. This will avoid you having to dig anything, you can pop some spuds in when the time comes, they are great for breaking up the earth.
                          In the meantime you could get productive at home starting seeds and potting on so you have young plants ready for the allotment when you are feeling more capable. Again plant through the cardboard just as it is. The advantage in seeding and potting at home is that you can do much of it sitting down or certainly at a leisurly pace. just make sure himself keeps them moist in the event that you are in hospital a few days.
                          Meanwhile start saving loo roll centres and yogurt pots as free plant starters, and ask away here about your plans/thoughts.


                          • #14

                            what the others have said.

                            I would suggest
                            1) work out the turnover of plots
                            2) try to get a feel as to how the committee will be about it (are there scruffy plots, or are they all with lettuce in neat rows)

                            Overall, if you want to go for it, go for it.

                            I'd recommend the covering a lot (either in cardboard and compost, or membrane (I like to cover it in woodchip to prevent it degrading in the sunlight - and properly weighted down)) or growing a lot of shrubs to maximise return for effort.

                            I do no-dig and it certainly works (although it's certainly not no-shovelling)...


                            • #15
                              Thank you all for your replys.

                              I would be taking over the plot at the beginning of February and am due in April, so right at the start of the growing season. I've been discussing with my husband and although we think it would be a great idea to bring the kids up on an allotment with the commitment I'm going to have with a newborn and toddler and that fact he works so much it would probably be too much for us for now.

                              I'm going to speak to the allotment manager of the council and try and defer our application on the waiting list until this little one is closer to two, that way I think it would be more manageable time wise and both kids should hopefully be at an age where I can manage them and get what I need from the plot as well as ensure I keep up with the requirements to keep our plot. It's a shame, it is a really lovely plot on a lovely allotment, hopefully the fact I was given an offer within a year of my application will mean I won't need to wait too long closer to 2022.


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