Pristine Plotters versus Patchy Plotters

Pristine Plotters versus Patchy Plotters

Are you in the tidy camp or do you err on the side of unkempt? KG, with the help of this super cartoon by Barry Gurbutt, investigates…

In the March issue of Kitchen Garden magazine we look at the different types of allotmenteer – the Pristine plotter and the Patchy plotter and all those in between. Here we look at how each of them could get along better… maybe?

What is a Pristine Plotter?

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This plotter has perfect rows of veg that have been measured. There’s not a weed in sight but should one appear, its life is short. This plotter has a beautifully crafted shed filled with clean tools that are oiled after every use. There are black silhouettes of the tools painted on the walls so the tools can be put back in the correct place. They have boxes of seeds filed in A-Z and time of sowing.

What is a Patchy Plotter?

This person is not pristine in mind. They think differently to the Pristine Plotter. Tidiness is not in their makeup. What mess, they cry? They don’t see their plot the same way a Pristine Plotter will see it. They may be time poor and are not averse to seeing a few weeds grow. They might binge garden and have a flurry of activity for a day or two then are not seen for days. They believe in leaving unkempt areas for wildlife.

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There are scales of Pristine and Patchy and we all fall somewhere on the scale. See where you come – buy the March 2018 issue of Kitchen Garden magazine to find out!

How Pristine Plotters and Patchy Plotters can get along

For Pristine Plotters…

• Remember a weed is a plant that has a purpose in life… to make your life a misery by seeding. No, it has another far more important role than annoying you. It is food and habitat for all manner of creatures that were around long before you cultivated this spot of earth.

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• Plants known as weeds are all around us. There are millions of seeds in the soil waiting for the right moment to germinate and germinate they will…on your nicely cultivated bare earth. It is as certain as death and taxes that weeds will grow. Your Patchy Plotter neighbour next door may have a whole plot of sow thistles but even if they didn’t you WILL still get weeds. So while you are removing the weed seedlings grown from weed seeds already in your soil you will also be dealing with any weed seedlings that your Patchy Plotter neighbour has kindly blown over to you.

• Those weeds on your neighbour’s plot are not going to creep over in the dead of night and devour your pristine plot. You look after your plot so it won’t happen! You look after yours and let your neighbour neglect theirs. Eventually if your allotment neighbour does not take care of their plot enough they will be asked to leave. It is what happens… eventually!

• You are entitled to a tidy plot. Weeds can use up valuable nutrients and water around your crop plants so you are right to be tidy.

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• You like to keep your shed tidy and your canes in neat bundles and pots in size order. It shows great attention to detail and is most helpful in keeping a good allotment.

• Your shed may be colour co-ordinated and everything labelled. Your tools may be cleaned after every use. Your tools will probably last longer than your Patchy Plotter neighbour’s and you will find things a lot quicker than he/she does.

• That pile of wood looks a right mess on your Patchy Plotter neighbour’s plot. Why don’t they tidy that up, you cry? Is it harming you physically? Is it affecting your plot directly? No, so take a breath and realise it is your tidy mind, your perception that is simply averse to the tangled mess. Get over it, allow it and accept the angst is of your own making. And you didn’t spot that baby hedgehog enjoying it as its home, did you?

For Patchy Plotters…

• The weeds covering your plot may be edible but do you need so many of them really?

• Weeds are ground cover and a green manure crop, you say. Well yes, but your Pristine Plotter neighbour next door is aghast and sees it as messy. They are a tidy minded individual that likes order and your tangle of weeds is messing with their head. Do you really want to mess with someone’s head? I don’t believe you do. You are a lovely person that doesn’t mean harm to others so think about your Pristine Plotter neighbour and how they see it. It is the way they are. You are the way you are so compromise is needed to make for friendlier relations and a nicer place for both of you to enjoy your recreation time. By all means allow overgrown areas but have a reason for your overgrown areas. Is it really a green manure carpet you are cultivating? Or is it weedy because you have been to the pub of late rather than the plot!

• Those spent crops that are rotting there and looking disgusting are potentially harbouring crop diseases which could make life more difficult for you and your neighbour next year. Give a little thought to how your Pristine Plotter neighbour sees it. Just remove them.

• That pile of old tyres right next to your Pristine Plotter’s plot is causing them to have palpitations. Move them to behind your shed. They still do what you want them to do…look messy, but are out of sight of your neighbour.

• Your mix of weeds among crops is confusing pests. Well done. Your Pristine Plotter neighbour could learn a thing or two about this technique. Maybe on a good day after a few glasses of wine have relaxed you both – educate them!

• A few weeds are flowering on your plot but look at the bees that are then going from your weedy flowers to your Pristine Plotter’s runner beans. He has you to thank for a better crop this year.

• So your plot is a mess? Your Pristine Plotter neighbour should be grateful that you are doing your bit for the survival of the planet. Your plot is nature conservation at work!

To see which type of plotter you are, check out the March 2018 issue of Kitchen Garden magazine.

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About the Author

Steve Ott