An allotmenteer, born and bred in Sheffield, has spoken of the wonderful diversity within the city, not just for crops but also for the people who call it home.
Paul Hurt was born in Sheffield, to a working class family of four children, and has lived in the city most of his life – a city which he says is wonderful for growers like himself.
Once a gardening novice, Paul, took over two allotments on Morley Street, near to his Walkley home, around 12 years ago and it has been a labour of love ever since.
He said: “They were in a poor state, if I knew what I know now I probably wouldn't have taken them on. The soil is very mixed, and there is a big area with a thick layer of garbage, rubble and sheets of metal. I really should have done test diggings before taking it over.
“When I moved to my house on Providence Road, there was a small back yard and I had no gardening interest at all. I started to grow things like courgettes and lettuces in containers and before long there was a little garden growing but I didn’t have much room.
“So I decided on the allotment and I completed transformed it. I recorded a lot of my experiences on my website, but not right from the start.
“I've been lucky as I’ve had no arson attacks, although there has been some nearby, someone gave up their allotment after they had their greenhouse burnt down.
“I have an interest in caring for living things, and appreciate wildlife. It involves a fair amount of technical work, if you didn’t do that you'd more or less lose the crop. It calls on a variety of skills, using sheet metal, oak beams, wedding, caring for plants. I like the overall experience.
“I also have an interest in cooking, and it influences my diet. When my potatoes have gone, I do go to the shops and am glad to support local farmers and as I’m also interested in farming and industry.
“I’m interested about everything in Sheffield because of my growing.”
Paul often visits his allotments most days in Summer, spending around two hours watering his crops, but will be there less frequently during colder times, or when it snows and has even worked every day recently despite the rain.
He says the fulfilment he gets from his allotments outweighs the negatives, and likes to do everything he can to encourage wildlife to the area.
“I love to go to the allotment,” he added. “It is such an harmonious place. The allotment system is very well developed in Sheffield.
“It is very well placed for a grower, you have the grandeur of the peak district with its amazing landscapes like Winnats Pass and Castleton. You've got the advantages of the Peak District on the doorstep.
“Crops grow great, its a wonderful area for growth because of the rain fall and the climate.
“It has such a magical history, and more recently has become more of a green city.”
A retired science teacher, and once an avid cross country skier and animal welfare campaigner, Paul loves the city, and lavishes the chance to go back to his roots.
He said: “I grew up speaking the dialect, and am happy when I can speak with someone else in the dialect.
“We dialect users are bilingual, it’s like a foreign language but I like the fact that Sheffield has its own dialect. It is such a rich vocabulary which can express human emotions, both forcefully and clearly.
“One word can’t be translated exactly, every one has their own meaning. It’s a joy to hear. Walking down the street you will hear it.
“I also like the different areas of Sheffield, it is fascinating to go from one area to another.
“Crimes take place which are shocking and significant, but Sheffield is not alone in this. There is an abundance of good will, civic virtues and neighbourliness within the city.”