DOWN at the bottom of the garden, three men are living the ‘grow-your-own’ dream.
Eighteen months ago, Ben Todd, Will Burridge and Rich Stevens took on a plot in Hoole Allotments in Chester and have since been transforming the glass-strewn wasteland into a quintessentially British veg patch.
But they do not fit with the stereotypical image of retired gentlemen gardeners - they are young career-focussed dads.
However, what they lack in gardening knowledge, the 34-year-olds make up for in genuine enthusiasm for their project, and a wry sense of humour when it all goes wrong.
“The thing is,” said Rich, restaurant manager at Joseph Benjamin, “quite often we don’t really know when veg is ready.”
“I picked the first cucumber too early, and it was delicious but only the size of a pen. One sandwich and it was gone,” said father-of-two Ben.
Aside from a lack of expertise, they did not have the equipment they needed at first either, but they have made innovative use of what they have been able to find.
There is now a cast-iron bath tub planted up with rhubarb, a Wendy house for their children, and a ‘dibber’, an old chair leg stuck to a doorknob and covered with glitter.
It is a happy work-in-progress, with the failures and minor triumphs updated on to their blog, Pimp My Dibber.
The men, all from Hoole, met through their wives, realising a shared love of amateur gardening and ‘sneaky ales’.
“We try to get to The Royal Oak as much as possible,” said Ben. “We have our own AGMs there as often as we can.”
They are not originally from Chester, but it is the allotment ‘colony’ that has made it feel like home.
“It has been a good way of getting involved in the community, said Ben. “I’ve never felt so at home as I do in Hoole since we got the allotment.”
To follow the progress of the allotment plot, go to www.pimpmydibber.co.uk.