Penny, Ashbourne Road District Allotments
Nine years ago I moved back to Derby after living in London for many years. I still travel to London for my job as a GP surgery manager. At the same time I bought my house in Derby, I got my plot at Ashbourne Road District Allotments.
Having grown up on a farm I developed a connectedness with my food. As a child I wasn’t particularly interested in the farming and gardening activities my parents did around me whilst I played. Just growing up in that environment meant I knew about different vegetables, how they grow and how to pick them. I knew where the vegetables on my plate came from, that they hadn’t travelled far, and knew what had been put onto to them whilst they were growing.
Being outside on your allotment makes you feel connected to the seasons. You just notice and appreciate more the little changes in nature as seasons change. My favourite time to be at the allotment is spring when everything around you begins to bud and looks full of potential.
I have three children in primary school, two boys and a little girl. Being a mum you can at times feel overwhelmed and feel you have little control. My plot gives me a sense of control. I often go when the children are in bed and being there is like being in a different world. I find it relaxing, it’s so peaceful and quiet. I get a sense of achievement and satisfaction too when I’ve finished clearing or planting a patch, and I get pleasure from seeing my plants grow or from rescuing a plant and seeing it spring back to life. This year I’m growing a lot of pumpkins for display at our local Six Streets Halloween event which the children are really looking forward to.
Although I have a busy life I somehow manage to fit in the allotment. I often bring my children with me. When they were really young they kept themselves busy in the soil with their tractors and diggers or sat with their drawing pads. As they got older they’d dig big holes in the ground and fill them with water. We have an old fashioned hand water pump at the allotment which they love and they’d run off to collect water.
Now my two boys are older they are mostly interested in anything that involves using tools and power tools. They recently helped my husband put up a fence and are always eager to help me strim the grass or chop branches.
Penny’s favourite plot to plate: The very first harvest of new potatoes, mixed salad with tender skinned broad beans. Followed by strawberries and cream.