Turtledove London Talks: Growing a veg allotment with Paula Saxby

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Lockdown 2020 brought many unexpected challenges, one of which was our team attempts to grow our own fruit and veg. With mixed success, but lots of interest in this new challenge, were excited to catch up with Paula Saxby to find out more about allotment life!

                                                                                                                  

Why did you decide to get an allotment?

My Poppa had an allotment when I was very young and I have fond memories of picking runner beans for tea with him and my Gran. I've gradually increased what I've grown and learnt about lots of plants and what they need to thrive. In lockdown 1.0 we built a raised vegetable patch in the garden and have been (not so) patiently waiting for an allotment to become available since courgettes and pumpkins took over my garden!              
                              

What is the process of getting an allotment in England?

I had to register with my local council who allowed me to put my name on a waiting list at 4 sites in my local area. I wasn't fussy and took the first one they offered me. It was TOTALLY covered with weeds but even in just one week we have made such great progress and have planted some things out already. 

How long have you been growing your own fruit and veg?

I first grew courgettes and herbs around 5 years ago and had a few years off as we moved during the months where vegetables would thrive. Last year in lockdown 1.0 (March 2021) I decided to commit to doing a whole vegetable patch and grew 10 different vegetables and learnt ALOT.
           

What are the best vegetables to grow for a beginner?

I would recommend herbs, salad leaves, bush beans and courgettes for beginners - you can't go wrong and they are generally prolific and low maintenance.

I first grew courgettes and herbs around 5 years ago and had a few years off as we moved during the months where vegetables would thrive. Last year in lockdown 1.0 (March 2021) I decided to commit to doing a whole vegetable patch and grew 10 different vegetables and learnt ALOT.
           

What are the best vegetables to grow for a beginner?

I would recommend herbs, salad leaves, bush beans and courgettes for beginners - you can't go wrong and they are generally prolific and low maintenance.

Do you have any favourite recipes using your homegrown produce?

Thinly slicing my home grown courgettes into a summery salad  was a very proud moment for me, that or stirring them through linguine with mint (home grown of course) and lemon zest.

What is the best thing about owning an allotment?

Although I've only had my allotment a short amount of time, I know the pride i will have bringing home the veg I have grown for dinner will be unrivalled. I am also growing things I know my friends enjoy eating so I can share the love!

         
Paula in her allotment wearing our dungarees

       

Do you follow sustainable living in any other areas?

I eat a predominantly plant based diet which i really think is the most sustainable thing anyone can do. I gradually moved from meat eater to 99.9% vegan 5 years ago and have never looked back! Now I can grown my own vegetables its even better, feeding my family with food I grew from seeds is the best thing ever.

You can follow Paula’s allotment journey over on her Instagram page @paulas_plot_ .
Interested in growing your own ? We would love to hear more , get in touch with us at Instagram: @turtledovelondon & Facebook: @turtledovelondon

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