I’m Katrina and I’ve had my plot at the historic site of St. Ann’s Allotments, Nottingham since September 2014. I’m very lucky to have an allotment at this Grade II listed heritage site as it belongs to the largest and oldest allotments in Europe.
I’ll be sharing my tips, notes and observations from the plot throughout the year as I take on new projects and grow different varieties of fruit, vegetables, flowers and shrubs.
Growing up I remember my parents re-designing our small back garden and my dad made this own raised beds at the side of the garden with railway sleepers. I use to be scared of the wasps that swarmed around the beans in summer and dad complaining about his clay soil, but he still grew the most delicious potatoes! I’ve always loved being outside and especially in the garden. After I finished university and moved into a flat I realised just how much I needed and outside space of my own. I think being close to nature and engaging all your senses with the outdoors plays an immense part in mental wellbeing. After hitting a low part in my life, I decided to put my name on the waiting list to get an allotment and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
I’ve had my allotment at St Ann’s Allotments, Nottingham for six years now and if I have a day off I’ll 100% be there in my own little world. My little plot is 300sqm and has an apple tree and lots of natural hedgerows. It’s actually on a Grade II listed heritage site that thought to be the oldest and largest allotment site in Europe, with over 650 plots! The site has miles and miles of hedgerows, Victorian brick houses, areas for wildlife, original glass houses and community gardens that are open to the public.
Why do I grow My own Food?
I grow my own good because I love to cook! If you eat seasonally you’re enjoying some of the freshest foods and the flavour of homegrown cannot even come close to bland-tasting supermarket food. Homegrown food makes meals so much more satisfying to eat. One of the things I love most about growing my own food is the types of varieties that are available to grow from seed that you otherwise wouldn’t even know existed! I’m talking about the yellow tomatoes, black tomatoes, purple carrots and heirloom varieties that are hundreds of years old! Growing my own food challenges my cooking. I have to think of new and exciting ways to use the unlimited supply of courgettes through summer. Or I make chutneys and jams to preserve my homegrown foods throughout the year. You can bring back the taste of summer in one bite of strawberry jam on toast, when the temperature outside is icy cold!
I Grow Organically
I use preventative measures against pests and have never used pesticides, slug pellets or herbicides on my allotment as I try to grow as organically as possible. Instead, I rotate my crops each year to prevent a build up of disease and grow the plants and provide habitats for the predatory creatures such as hedgehogs, frogs and birds to eat the offending ‘pests’.
In the Community
If I grow too much food I offer it to my family and friends or donate it to my local church who use the produce to make nutritious meals for some of the most vulnerable members of our community. The online gardening community is one of the friendliest corners of the internet. I love to use my platforms on Instagram and Youtube in particular to connect with gardeners across the world. It’s so fascinating to hear what everybody is growing! I find them such valuables spaces to connect, share ideas and give advice.