Express & Star

I've taken on an allotment plot and love it! How putting down Roots is bringing my community together

Jane Thomas gives growing her own fruit and veg a go in a field filled with creativity, kindness and enthusiasm by the wheelbarrow load

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Jane Thomas with niece Eva

I’d lost the plot before I’d even got one!

I went cultivating crazy at the prospect of getting an allotment when a mini patch became available next to my friend’s orderly planted plot. So I went for it – I signed up online and waited to hear if patch number 1HE, an already prepared 3m by 4m compact rectangle of raised earth, had my name on it.

The excitement was too much. I spent all my spare time during the week of waiting researching plot layouts, sketching designs and visiting gardening aisles in so many stores. Being a complete beginner, I wasn’t entirely sure what I’d need to get my agricultural adventure off the ground. In truth, the answer was not a lot.

Roots Allotment, Stourbridge

You see the thing about Roots Allotments in Sugar Loaf Fields in Stourbridge is that so much is provided when you join. Your plot, the use of wheelbarrows and tools, watering cans, free woodchip, regular seed giveaways, watering stations and even free manure. Now that’s not to be sniffed at!

But much more than that, what I realised I was buying into for my £9.99 a month is a community blooming with creativity, kindness and a relaxing way to connect with nature while producing delicious veg. And that concept of growing your own produce surrounded by like-minded nature lovers is exactly what attracted site manager Dave Cox, affectionately known as Coxy, to apply for the role in charge of the nine-acre former potato field in Sugar Loaf Lane.

“Before Roots, I’d been an everythinger,” the dad-of-three began. “I’ve done everything from a martial arts instructor, a general tradesman to a financial trader, which was going well until things took a devastating tumble.”