Allotment holders dig in over daffodils and fresh vegetables

The allotment holders in Rainham

The allotment holders in Rainham - Credit: Archant

Havering Council’s cabinet agreed to sell the majority of land – 1.53 acres – next to Rainham’s Melville Road Allotments for residential development and to create additional allotments on 0.6 acres in November.

Manjit Bains and James Green with some of their vegetables

Manjit Bains and James Green with some of their vegetables - Credit: Archant

Allotment holders created a petition asking he council to allow all of the land to be used for allotments.

“I like knowing where my food comes from,” said James Green, who has had a plot for a year.

Originally from Yorkshire, he said when he moved to Rainham he wanted to continue his horticultural hobby and to keep growing his own food.

He regularly takes his two sons to his plot for them to help maintain it.

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He said: “By growing the food yourself you know what you are giving to your children. The others who have plots here say they really enjoy it and working on the allotment helps them to keep fit.

Reg Nichol, 83, has had four different plots in the allotment for 30 years.

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He said: “When you grow daffodils you have to move them around, so in the time I have been at Melville Road I have moved four different times.

“I first got a plot because I had a small garden at home, and wanted more space to grow the daffodils. The soil at the allotment is good for growing daffodils.”

It was a labour of love and needed a lot of attention. He said: “Daffodils take five years to grow from seed to flower. It takes a long time, so few people grow daffodils from seed.” But his efforts have paid off as he sells his flowers through catalogues, and has won numerous prizes at the Rainham Horticultural Society shows.

Manjit Bains has had his plot for two years, and wants to make the change to organic food.

He grows a variety of food from radishes, carrots, parsnips and butternut squash, to spinach, parsley and chillies. “It’s a good source of exercise to keep fit and I have met a lot of people there.

“I haven’t got enough space in my garden at home, so this was a good chance to get a plot.

“And you can tell the difference in the taste when you grow it yourself, and have not used anything artificial or any preservatives.

“It goes from the garden to your plate and is as natural as you can find it.”

Cllr Andrew Curtin, cabinet member for communities, said: “We’re committed to providing allotments because they offer numerous benefits. They give people a space where they come together, exercise, and enjoy the setting.

“People who use them benefit from a healthy, active, outdoor lifestyle. They encourage a great sense of community spirit and can be enjoyed by everyone – from children gardening with their parents, to those who have retired.”

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