Growing Armley

The best thing about living in Armley – or the worst, depending on your disposition – is that you can’t leave the house and wander down to Town Street without at least four people doing an Ancient Mariner routine on you.

Usually it’s a neighbour who points out the latest abandoned mattress buckled against a wall in the back alley, and then spends a good ten minutes off-loading his opinion what this indicates about the state of the nation.

Or it’s someone waiting for an 86 bus who once might have stood next to you in the Poundshop stationery aisle who reasons that as you recently nodded hello whilst contiguously considering a stapler you’d be the perfect audience for a litany of their latest gastric symptoms, diagnoses, and treatments.

Or, occasionally, it’ll be an ex-client from way back when you worked in day centres who will launch into a conversation about aliens and Cleopatra and stealing blood samples, then ask about “the wife,” like we’d time-looped back to 1997.

I believe this is what is called “community.”

Generally, I’m all for it. But it does have some disadvantages.

Today it took me over 5 minutes to walk over to the allotments. And that’s literally less than a minute’s stroll from my front door.

Actually, I don’t have an allotment. But I saw a post on Armley Good Stuff a couple of weeks ago asking if anyone wanted to help out on a local plot, and I said yes. And now I’m helping out.

On an allotment.

Which, I’m led to believe, will involve things such as digging, pulling up weeds, planting seeds, watering plants, and more digging.

Also, dealing with slugs.

It’s an allotment that doesn’t believe in using chemicals on the plants, poisons on the weeds or violence against the wildlife, so I expect I shall have to take the slugs behind the shed and have a stern word about their behaviour. There must be YouTube videos featuring slug whisperers? Any recommendations would be gratefully recieved.

As it may be obvious I understand bugger all about gardening, growing things, or greenery in general.

The full extent of my horticultural knowledge could be whittled on the cork of Lidl’s best Cabernet Sauvignon.

Genuinely, I do not know my arse from an aspidistra (which I’m told is a plant?)

So, I’m not sure what help I’ll be on the allotment, practically.

Maybe I’ll concentrate on recruiting volunteers (anyone fancy coming down and getting stuck in give me a shout) fundraising (could do with a ton of compost, if anyone can chip in) and taking the produce over to Yum, the Armley foodbank.

We took an armful of leeks and kalettes to Yum last week,

and the leeks went quick, but kalettes… ok, I get it, nobody knows what to do with a kalette, so I’m thinking of cooking a kalette winter stew next week and taking it over to Yum, using whatever other stuff I can scrounge down there. If anyone fancies a taste let me know.

And if anyone has a recipe?

Armley kalette casserole? Could be a thing?