I've been thinking my last post over. Thanks to all who offered their thoughts and advice. Very useful! It's a way of "discussing" different points of view as I mentally run over what I would have said to each individual in response.
A few other points have occurred to me out of the course of this exercise.
1) It's a terrible time of year to be giving up an allotment, because it would take several days of work for me to remove plants, tools, hardware and landscaping bits and bobs. Not that I would strip the plot to its bones of course but I would want to take stuff like the coldframes and plant obelisks. And, belive it or not, a few dozen bags of compost. I make a LOT of compost and there's a cubic metre of compost just about to achieve the three year vintage. Yum. Not leaving that!
2) There are a lot of plants I would like to at least take cuttings or otherwise propagate from. Some of the plants have sentimental value and others would just be plain expensive to replace ie the raspberry canes and the new bed of fancy strawberry varieties I put in at great expense this year. Rhubarb. The roses. (One of which Robbie bought me.) The posh thornless dessert gooseberry bush.
3) I could do this over the next month or so but where would they go once here? I have no beds cleared or places to put them.
4) Crops. I've got lots of crops on the plot at the moment. Overwintering greens, salads, broad beans, the willow.....
5)The pond. The kids like the pond and helped me make it. I can build another pond here of course but they wanted to see the frogs we were (hopefully) going to get next year.
6) And I'd like to leave the allotment in step-in condition, not a nasty guddle. Pride, you know?
So, I think I'm going to go with Rho's suggestion, which is to do both allotment and garden for a year. Keep my options open, gear up the garden for crops and do the necessary propagation to bring stock over. Grow less on the allotment but use the time saved there to straighten things up ready for handover. Aim to do this by autumn next year.
I estimate that if I turn about one third of the garden over to beds, plus the small greenhouse plus use the paved area for big planters I can achieve about 20% of the growing area I had in the allotment.That doesn't sound a lot, but the allotment had quite a bit of permanent planting like big raspberry beds, trees and the willow, so in real terms more like 25%. I won't be able to grow fields of spuds then! But there are ways of increasing the % crop return from a smaller area by better management, use of dwarf varieties, tighter spacing, vertical growing etc. It's a different way of doing things. Less wastage. I'm working on the theory that I should be able to achieve about one third of the crops I currently grow. Which is a lot, come to think of it, and I'm constantly giving produce away. I don't need that much!
The kids are going to have to lose their climbing frame though, unless I grow beans up it......and where am I going to be able to make a cubic metre of compost per year??? And the pear tree will have to go. And a shed...what will I do without a shed? And....and...and....maybe it would be easier just to give up gardening all together?
Edit: I made a start on clearing the garden today by persuading/bribing Princess to pick up the windfall apples for me at 2p per apple, while I pruned the honeysuckle. She picked up 250 apples (!!!) and then made me go up to Borders to buy her a comic and colouring book. This could get expensive! But on the plus side of the budget, I've decided to recycle the old climbing frame into a fruit cage.