PFH | Homegrown during lockdown

Homegrown during lockdown

Homegrown during lockdown

Residents haven’t let lockdown get in the way of ensuring an intergenerational project continued to make progress.

Grow It, Eat It was launched with the Soil Association in February 2020 and was due to see PFH residents working with school children to create edible gardens, before cooking and eating the produce together.

Lockdown slowed the intergenerational project down and meant the schools’ involvement couldn’t continue. However, some residents were keen to make sure that the produce was still tended to.

For Margaret Caulfield, 80, of Ada Holmes Circle, ensuring that potatoes, carrots, onions and other vegetables made the journey from seeds and plants to plates has given her a sense of purpose in recent months.

Margaret has already savoured the delights of the homegrown produce, making a potato salad that she shared with neighbours. She is now looking forward to enjoying more of the produce which is growing at a rapid pace.

Margaret said: “There is so much growing at the moment. At the beginning, a little greenhouse was set up but everything needed planting and potting. I’ve never grown anything like this before apart from flowers so it was a new experience for me. There I was, sitting at a little table, seeding carrots into a tub, the same with the onions. Then there was a lot of watering. I look at them now and I just think, ooh, everything’s coming up so big. It’s quite a shock.”

Margaret took an improvised approach when it came to growing potatoes from seed tubers. “I went into the shed and thought, what on earth are these? The roots were sticking out like something from outer space. I had to ask my son Philip what I should do with them. I got someone to help me put them into my growing bags, although they were actually bags from Farmfoods.

“We got the first batch of potatoes the other week. I had a bag tipped out and there they were, so we boiled them for salads. It felt good to do that because nothing tastes like homegrown food.”

Gardening programmes on television have provided Margaret with some good hints and tips regarding the next task on the to-do list – laying out and drying out a sizeable crop of onions. Having something to focus on has been really useful for her and she soon hopes to be tucking into some fresh tomatoes she’s currently guiding to maturity.

PFH hopes to resume its intergenerational work with schools in the future, but only when it’s safe to do so. Watch out in People First magazine for future updates.