Free food-growing workshops, stalls and competitions are amongst attractions at the annual ‘Grow Your Own’ day at Nottingham City Council Nursery at Woodthorpe Grange Park on Saturday September 5th.

The event will run from 10am to 3pm and is a celebration of allotments, community gardens and backyard food growing.  Entry is free.

One of the new attractions this year is a large vegetable garden created by Parks apprentices on a piece of land that was previously overgrown.  They have been working one or two days a week on the plot – learning new skills and finding out how to grow healthy food on a shoestring.  After hours of hard work clearing, weeding, rotavating, raking and digging, they have designed the garden and planted and tended a wide variety of crops, which are now thriving.

Apprentice Lance Beadsworth says: “When we first started work it was during a heatwave and the ground was solid, so it took us a whole day just to clear half the site.  It’s been really hard work, but I now feel very proud of the garden.”

His colleague Gordon Watt grows veg at home and has enjoyed sharing his knowledge with the rest of the team – Lance, Reece Lewis, Joss Whiteley and Joseph Wain.  Gordon says: “I’ve found the whole experience an enjoyable one and it’s also been a great way to bond with the other apprentices and make our friendship stronger.”

The Grow Your Own show will also feature stalls from local allotments and food producers.  There will be a range of free workshops during the day, including veg plot design, summer pruning of fruit trees, permaculture, growing in small spaces, poultry keeping, trug-making and growing veg with children.  Details of timings will follow.

Children are invited to enter a competition for edible crops they have grown in an unusual container.  The Schools competition is for a trug containing at least three types of produce grown in the school garden.

For the first time, the event will incorporate the annual honey show of Nottinghamshire Bee Keepers’ Association.  There will also be the opportunity to visit the beehives in the old kitchen garden.

Councillor Dave Trimble, Nottingham City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Culture and Tourism, said: “The Grow Your Own event is a great day out for all the family with lots of inspiration for anyone wanting to grow their own food.  This year there are lots of opportunities to see a lot of excellent work that is happening in the city as well as to learn and share skills, buy local produce and join in activities.”