Several years ago, when I married, I moved into a small terraced house at the top of Crookes in Sheffield. For the first time in my life, I had a garden. Admittedly, it wasn’t the largest of spaces, but it was a patch of earth for me to do with as I wanted.
Having cleared the nettles, and exhumed the roll-ends of carpet that someone had seen fit to inter there, the blank earthen canvas was ready. Into it went half-a-dozen tomato plants, grown from seed blagged from my new father-in-law.
As the seeds became seedlings, I fell in love with them. Each morning I would stroke their leaves and inhale deeply, savouring the smell of the growing plants. By the end of the summer, I had my first crop, the sweetest, richest tomatoes I’d ever tasted. I was hooked. Since then, I’ve always wanted to grow more.
With my modest income, and house prices being what they are, the big house in the country with a croquet lawn and a kitchen garden that I’ve occasionally dreamed of is permanently out of reach. But, thanks to the local allotment association, growing my own veg isn’t. I live in an area that has lots of plots, and a glut of growers, so I think it’s time that I joined in the fun.
Now that I think of it, becoming part of a thriving community of allotmenteers will surely be better than having my own walled off, private paradise. What better than sharing my struggle with the soil with like-minded souls, and having the pool of their accumulated wisdom to tap into?