It was a great pleasure to visit Plot 22 in Hove last week. The person who developed this beautiful community allotment near Aldrington train station is Emma Houldsworth. Here is their website, and it's well worth taking a look, listening to the audio portraits, and the Year in the Garden photo diary is brilliant. Lovely recipes too. They call it a 'little oasis' and that's exactly what it felt like. Our lovely community allotment is high up on the Downs, has breathtaking views and is a healing, nurturing place to be. Plot 22 felt equally nurturing and good for the soul, and the two allotments share many things...
- being a safe, welcoming space
- teaching about gardening according to organic principles
- growing food that is shared
- aiming to be sustainable
- having community membership
- supporting local wildlife
- having at least one pond
- excellent sheds
...Plot 22 nonetheless has a somewhat different feel. It was women-only the day I was there. They have some indoor space, which feels quite cosy and contained. There are greenhouses and a covered seating area. They always eat a meal together. And their composting loo is a thing of beauty! I loved that is was 'twinned' with another loo.
I really enjoyed meeting some of the allotment group, sharing tea and delicious homemade apple tarts. Then we had a tour. There had been a first frost, so these chaps needed digging up. They are called Yacon and are an unusual type of potato.
Emma told me that they had a lot of teasels growing all over the place, but needed to have a bit of a tidy up/weed. They didn’t want to deprive the birds of food, so one of the group had the idea of hanging them up in a tree instead so that the goldfinches and greenfinches can eat the seeds.
Emma gave me some chillies to take away - which we can hopefully try to grow at our allotment next year. She warned me they are very hot.
It was a great pleasure to spend time in such a lovely place in such good company. We'd be delighted if the group came to visit us one day.