Growth of gardening

Martin and Jane Hadfield haven’t bought any fruit or veg for four years.

They don’t need to - they grow their own.

When they retired they took an allotment at Claylands Avenue, Worksop, and have been reaping the rewards ever since.

Martin, 55, of Sunnyside, reels off a long list: “We’ve got plums, apples, pears, damsons, tayberries, gooseberries, loganberries, onions, leeks, garlic, carrots, turnip, potatoes, tomatoes, aubergines. We’ve got five children and we keep them all in fruit and veg as well.”

The eight acres of allotments are an oasis of self-sufficiency, tucked away behind the Dukeries Industrial Estate.

On Sunday they will become the first in the district to become self-administered, with Bassetlaw Council handing over control to Claylands Avenue Gardeners Society.

Martin is chairman and says taking on an allotment was a “lifestyle choice”.

He said: “We share our knowledge and share seeds and plants. We also have a not-for-profit shop which anybody can come to and get advice.”

“Growing your own is easy and so cost-effective and we’re happy to help anyone get started. They don’t have to have an allotment, you can grow stuff in pots or bags in a small garden.”

“Two or three leeks will probably cost you £1 in a supermarket but you can get a packet of seeds for £2 which will give you 100 leeks. Most veg can be frozen too.”

Barry Harris, 76, has been tending plants at his family’s allotment since he was a young lad.

His dad George took on the plot in the 1920s, which backed on to their Gateford Road home. Barry still lives on Gateford Road, although not in the same house, and took the plot over in 1955 after his dad broke his leg in an accident at Shireoaks pit.

Barry, who worked for a timber company, said: “There used to be a lot of miners on here and when I was a boy they used to ask me ‘what do you want to learn today Barry?’”

“I try to pass on some of that knowledge to other people now.”

“I like to grow flowers, like chrysanths, tulips, daffodils and sweet Williams, on a quarter of the plot and veg on the rest. I keep myself and my sister June in veg.”

“You can tell the difference straightaway between homegrown veg and the stuff you get in supermarkets.”

Barry can remember when the allotments were surrounded by farmers’ fields, instead of industrial units.

“I’ll spend about four hours a day or longer here, it’s a healthy lifestyle being out in the fresh air, and I have a shed with a sofa in it,” he said.

Barbara Shelley, of Carlton, who was a florist, said she keeps her garden at home for flowers and her allotment for veg. She said: “It’s a learning curve and it’s hard work but it’s worth it.”

“I try to do it organically and everything tastes so much better, we tend to eat less meat and more veg now because we have so many different things to choose from.”

George Wilson, of Trent Street, is one of the oldest gardeners at 85. “I would recommend it to anyone, especially with the price of everything going up. It’s constant work but it’s a peaceful place to be.”

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