Dave, Sinfin Lane Allotments
I’ve had my two plots at Sinfin Lane Allotments for about 3 years. A few months after I got my plot, another quite well-maintained plot became vacant and rather than let it get overgrown I started to maintain it and eventually took it on as well.
I work as a driver at a school for children with special needs. I had become very overweight and I wanted to get healthy and active. Since having my allotment I have lost a lot of weight. I juice a lot of my vegetables, and eat a wider variety of fresh fruit and vegetables.
You cannot compare the taste of home-grown fruit and vegetables. They taste fresh, crisp, earthy and nutritional. I can pick a cucumber and eat it like an apple and the flavour is gorgeous, not at all like shop-bought cucumber.
With home-grown food you know it’s not been treated with chemicals, grown under forced conditions or been sitting around for ages. I’ve found that cheap shop-bought fruit and vegetables doesn’t keep well and you can end up throwing it away. You don’t waste food if you grow your own. You eat it yourself or preserve it, give it away, and ultimately use it to make compost for next year.
I had no gardening experience when I started. You learn from other plot-holders who are very willing to give advice. I didn’t know you could grow kidney beans until I saw another plot-holder growing them and I’ve been growing them ever since.
Seeing plants grow from seeds that you’ve planted is very satisfying. It feels like you’ve created something good. It’s soul satisfying. I get a sense of pride seeing my harvest, taking it home, and sharing photos of it on Facebook. Having an allotment makes you feel part of something bigger, there’s a community here, and an online community.
The allotment is a place for hard physical work but it is also a relaxing place, a place to reflect on life. On my plot I have dedicated a small area in memory of loved ones lost. My wife died 7 years ago and that was a traumatic period in my life, and my current partner’s father and brothers have also passed away.
Dave’s favourite plot to plate: Jamaican oxtail & red kidney bean stew served with Jamaican pumpkin rice, and a red pepper, onion & cucumber salad.