1st Year Plot Holders


Our Precious Adventure at the Allotment 20/21

For years I would hear Mike Roche talk about his Allotment. I never really understood what the big deal was about growing vegetables, especially when you can easily buy it from the supermarket! A few times he took me and a couple of friends for trips to the allotment to view his flowers and his vegetables. It gave me a better idea of what having an allotment really meant. He also gave me some tomato plants to grow at home, to see if I would get along with it, teaching me how to pinch off leaves and low stems. I did ok, and really enjoyed it, especially the eating part of it!

With the first lockdown and my hobbies all at a standstill, I asked a friend if she would consider sharing an allotment with me, as I knew I would not be able to cope by myself. She agreed although both of us were hesitant. But with the guidance of our new allotment mentor Mike, we felt more secure and took the plunge.

We acquired our plot in November 20. It was perfect for us, as our kind plot neighbour Wolf had looked after it very well. It was close to the trading hut, canteen, and toilets, all of which were a bonus to us, as we did not realise allotments had these things on site.

When we went to buy our first vegetables to grow, we were just really excited to be planting something. Broad beans were our first venture. I do not think either of us had tasted them at the time, but we were super eager to plant anything, broad beans were the only veg available!

A lady asked us how we plan to grow them. I replied innocently, “I don’t know, it’s our first time and we don’t know what we are doing”, this was greeted with laughter from everyone in the hut. Everyone there immediately started to give us advice. It is this advice that we have gained from pretty much everyone at the allotment. This is what we treasure the most and honestly, if people were not so friendly and open to sharing their knowledge, I don't know what we would have done!

There is a great sense of community in the allotment which we did not expect. During covid, this was our place of respite, a place to visit, to get some fresh air, exercise, meet people and at least say hello, I no longer felt isolated. The allotment immediately lifted our spirits.

The allotment to me is not just a place to grow fruit, veg and flowers, it’s a place to build friendships, connections, learn from different cultures, share and listen to stories of the old days, support one another and breathe in some fresh air. It is a place to leave your worries at the gate and enter a little haven of peace, where you can choose to chat to a passer-by or concentrate on nurturing your seedlings, younglings, and babies. We have met so many people with interesting lives. We could not have got better plot neighbours, in Wolf and Dave, for which we are incredibly grateful for. We tap into their wisdom including Mike, as much as we can, because they have so much to give.

We have David - the wildlife cameraman who has helped us with various things without even being asked. Paul who advised us on our potatoes, whilst we queued up for the potato sale, again not a clue!! Mike, Patrick, and Jerry who have shared their plants with us, I’m sure I’ve missed people out, sorry if I have. I am so surprised by how many lovely people there are at this allotment.

Our time at the allotment has been amazing thus far. Both me and my trusty plot partner feel that this allotment is quite a magical place. Time seems to resonate at a different speed, and before we know it, 5hrs have gone by, our mind has been quiet and still during that time, we have had some peace from the humdrum of daily life and leave feeling refreshed, like we have achieved something worthwhile. We do not think that we’ll ever get used to feeling excited by seeing our vegetables grow or the blossom on the trees. We have not got to the point of tasting them yet, apart from a few sweet strawberries. That will be another chapter to tell on the life and times of the allotment.

Malini and Kamani