In the middle of a sterile business park filled with automobile showrooms in a suburb of Newcastle Upon Tyne, I stumbled upon a huge garden allotment. I wandered down the central path and saw the each of the beds was filled with sprightly vegetables.
The folks in the north of England are very friendly and before long I found myself in the midst of a lively convesrsation with Roy McCann, who has been growing pounds and pounds of veggies in his three allotments over the past twenty years.
“I grow much more than my family can eat,” he told me, “so I end up giving a lot of food away to friends.”
“Then why do you have three plots?” I asked.
“Because I just love growing things,” said Roy.
The growing season in temperature England is nice and long. Seeds are planted in February and vegetables are harvested at least until late October.
Roy is proudest of his leeks and has come in third place for Best in Show in the Western Allotment competition. “The way you can tell they are healthy is when the middle leaves begin to spiral.” They were the beautiful leeks I’d ever seen.
“Come back tomorrow and I’ll bring you some of the wife’s strawberry and blueberry jams,” he offered.
I took him up on the offer and when I was there, he insisted on digging some up new potatoes and gifting them to me. They smelled sweet and earthy: his soil is beautiful: the “black gold” is composted horse manure mixed with hay and a large bin fronts every allotment. Roy doesn’t use any pesticides.
“Don’t need ’em,” he told me.
While I was there, I also did a short video to give you a better idea of Roy’s beautiful garden, including the greenhouses where he grows three varieties of tomatoes. He’ll also tell you how he feels about gardening.