Vernon & Nedra, Rowditch Allotments

Vernon & Nedra

It was Vernon’s idea to have an allotment. He was looking for something to do when he was thinking of retiring from his job as a lorry driver. ‘I get bored very easily and I thought an allotment could keep me busy when I retire’.  

Soon after meeting with the site Secretary at Rowditch Allotments Vernon was offered a vacant plot.

Some years later Nedra also retired from her job as a receptionist, and after realising she needed more exercise she decided to join Vernon on the allotment. The allotment gave Nedra the motivation she needed to get more physically active. ‘As you get older you find that you just sit more and it’s difficult to get motivated. I thought, I don’t want to be like that, I want to be up and about doing something. The allotment gives you that motivation and you think- I must get up there to do some weeding, watering or get some planting done’.

Nedra has found the allotment quite therapeutic during retirement. ‘Weeding away you’re just in a world of your own. You don’t really think of anything else other than what you are doing at that moment, I find it quite therapeutic’.

Vernon and Nedra enjoy chatting and socialising at the allotment and they get involved with their site’s fundraising events. ‘We’ve had little shows where plot-holders bring their homemade jams, chutneys, cakes, and even wines to sample. We’ve had little competitions like biggest marrow and biggest pumpkin. We’ve had BBQs. Last year we had a fantastic plant & produce sale and people came from all over Derby’.

Vernon also got involved with the running of their site and was Chair of Rowditch Allotments for seven years. ‘I enjoyed being Chair but it did take me away from looking after my own plot properly. With helping out at the site shop and other duties I just didn’t have enough time.’

Vernon and Nedra are both vegetarian and they decided to grow only what they love to cook and eat. Nedra’s favourites include butternut squash, beetroot, broad beans, rhubarb and soft fruits. Vernon is a keen cook and makes jams and chutneys, and uses the vegetables they grow to make curries and freeze them. Whereas Nedra prefers to make puddings with soft fruits and has started to experiment with using different vegetables in her cakes. 

Vernon and Nedra’s favourite plot to plate: Mixed vegetable curry with rice. Followed by courgette cake or soft fruit crumble with fresh cream or custard.