Mo, Derwent Park Allotments

Mo, Derwent Park Allotments

I’ve had my plot at Derwent Park Allotments for about 7 years. My husband Edward and I started on a half plot and later moved over to a full plot.

We used to have an allotment at another site where we grew a range of crops in a poly-tunnel. At the time we were keen to show our young children the journey of their food from seed to plate.

Both my husband and I are teachers and it can be a very busy and stressful profession. When I come to my allotment, I can feel my shoulders coming down, I hear the birds and the murmur of trees in the wind, and it just makes me happy. I sing in a choir and never sing when I’m doing housework but at the allotment I’ll find myself humming and singing to myself. I have a nosy resident robin who always comes when I’m digging or just pottering about as if to say what are doing on my patch, and we have beautiful little frogs on our allotment.

Some years ago I broke my elbow and had to have an operation. It coincided with a low period in my life due to several bereavements. Visiting the allotment played an important role in me getting better. I’d notice tree branches that I’d cut heal themselves over time and carry on fruiting. It was very therapeutic.

Nature has a special way of showing you the passage of time, different things growing, budding, and fruiting at different times. Whenever I’m near my blackcurrant bush it reminds me of being a child and making blackcurrant ice-cream with my dad. Planting something that isn’t going to fruit for years is like saving up happiness for the future.

You feel like you are learning a lot too. We inherited a lot of fruit trees and another very experienced plot-holder showed us how to prune them back. My husband Edward was very proud to have laid the foundations for our greenhouse and build the greenhouse all by himself. Inside it we grow tomatoes and have a grapevine which is Edward’s pride and joy.

I love to snip, chop, and trim - all by hand. I know it’s crazy but I really enjoy doing things like quietly snipping off grass seed heads rather than using a noisy strimmer. I just love the naturalness of our plot, high grass growing among the bramble fences just adds to that feeling of being enclosed by nature.

Mo’s favourite plot to plate: Dairy-free pizza with a topping of freshly picked cherry tomatoes, garlic, onions, and a garnish of toasted pine seeds & butter-fried sage.