Each month we are getting to know our allotment neighbours a bit better. For October, we have been chatting to Pam Islip who is at plot 36 at the Priory allotment site.

How long have you had an allotment in East Sheen?

For about 25 years.

What jobs have you been doing on the allotment this month?

Still harvesting tomatoes, weeding, watering, general tidying up, cutting the grass, shortly be sowing broad beans* (Aquadulce Claudia).

What crop has done well this year?

Tomatoes, courgettes, mixed lettuce, French beans (green, yellow and purple), aubergines.

What are you planning to grow next season?

Far too much but I’m very popular with my neighbours!

What’s your favourite recipe to make with your harvest?

Griddled Courgette with Tzatziki

For the courgette

  • Slice courgette lengthways about ½cm
  • Rub olive oil onto both sides
  • Place onto hot griddle pan (makes nice brown stripes if you press it down occasionally) for about 4 mins
  • Turn and do the same for the other side


For the tzatziki

  • Grate a small cucumber into a clean tea towel
  • Squeeze until lots of liquid removed
  • Place in a bowl and add 2 crushed garlic cloves, salt, lots of thinly sliced mint leaves and Greek yoghourt. Add it bit by bit until you get the consistency you want.

And given how many tomatoes I grew this year, I always serve with tomatoes.

In addition to gardening of course, do you have any other hobbies or skills?

Hiking, bird watching, opera, fungi, art exhibitions, British Museum/British Library/V&A exhibitions and anyone who knows me will tell you I’m always taking exotic adventure holidays as I love travelling.

*Here is my tip for growing broad beans

I don’t spray my crops as there’s really no need with careful management. When the black fly appear (as they most certainly will) there’s no need to pinch out the tops. Every couple of days (or every day if you can) use the hose and your finger tips to squish the black fly and wash them off. After a short time, they will fail to reappear and because you’ve been watering well, your beans will have benefitted and will grow high.

Our thanks to Pam for taking the time to answer our questions this month and provide a look into her allotment world.  If you’d like to be interviewed for next month’s newsletter, please contact us!