Sunday, 15 August 2010

Profile of the Best Plot Competition SOUTH area winner

Malcolm and Gill Wignall Plot 33 Scarcroft are the winners of the City of York Council's Best Plot Competition 2010 for the South area i.e. the area which covers Scarcroft, Hob Moor and Hospital Fields.  I visited them on their plot to find out about them, the way they garden and what I might learn from their success.

Malcolm and Gill Wignall

According to Malcolm, he does 10% of the work and Gill does 90%.  She says he is good at mowing, edging and cooking, particularly cooking.  He says she is good at all the rest of it.  They have worked this plot on Scarcroft for the last 7 years, but have shared other plots on the site before that.  Gill told me that when she was first offered this plot, Janice, the previous site secretary, offered her one that was immaculately dug over and one that was a solid mass of creeping buttercup but had a lavender hedge and a plum tree.  The lavender hedge swung it.   It took her 4 years to get all of the plot under cultivation and flowers still play a large part of Gill's plot which she describes more as an vegetable garden. 

She loves every aspect of having an allotment, except the occasional thefts.  She is even keen on digging, 'I love the way a patch of land looks a mess and then you dig it over and all of a sudden it's all orderly and ready'.  Gill is a committed organic gardener and over the years she has worked on improving the condition of her clay soil with compost and manure.  The two main pieces of advice she would give to anyone new to vegetable gardening - 'get on top of the weeds and improve your soil'.  This year she says she has been really pleased with the Lady Chrystl potatoes recommended to her by the men in the allotment shop and her white dwarf beans. She described her approach to allotment gardening as 'I like to do a bit of everything, but I don't get too worried.  I like to try things but if it doesn't work I go on to something else.'  Well, from the look of her and Malcolm's plot something is definitely working!  Congratulations to them both.

Gill and Malcolm are happy for other plotholders to come and visit their plot, but please only go onto it if they are around.

I hope to post up similar interviews with the winners from Hob Moor and Hospital Fields but as neither of them are association members it is taking me a little longer to get in touch with them. 

Caroline Bush

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