Around 1967 I decided to get an allotment in order to provide fruit and veg for my family. Allotments were available at Denton Dene. The secretary, a retired miner named Bob Carr, allocated me a plot 33 yards by 12 yards at a yearly rent of £4. I was eager to start, reading books on the subject for guidance.
As the season progressed, it was pleasing to see the seedlings and plants developing. Rhubarb was the first fruit to find its way to the kitchen. Any veg coloured green was not relished by the children. Their response; “Ugh, we can’t eat that!”. Except for peas. After a while, with a bit of coaxing and persuasion, they eventually saw our reasoning.
A few of us had a go at growing tobacco, processing at maturity, and curing, then rolling our own. Difficulty in keeping the cigarette alight was a drawback. At least twenty matches a tab!
Some old hands would come over to pass on tips, others just to talk and hold you up. A chap from Ireland told me how to prolong the season of cauliflowers, as I had a good crop. “Uproot the cauli. Fold the leaves over the curd. Dig a hole and bury it.” That prevented the curd bursting. At times some visitors would ask for veg. An old saying “A small basket is as good as a big garden” came to mind!
When my elder son John was eight, schools had a scheme ‘Plant A Tree in ‘73’. He brought a sapling home – a fir tree – which was planted. It remained there until after I gave up the allotment. It had been decided to remove trees from the area, reminding me of the song ‘Woodman, Spare That Tree’.
During the early 90s I acquired land adjacent to my house, so gave up the allotment after almost 30 years. I missed the chats but could now follow my own rules. As gardening was now more popular, due to TVs and radio also economical reasons, there was no problem re-letting my plot.