Meet Katelyn from @inatinygarden
Katelyn Reeves is a gardener who grows vegetables, fruit and flowers organically in a tiny garden and on a rented allotment plot with sustainability top of mind. Not only that, but she’s an avid fan and customer of Ecotricity and everything we do!
She shares her gardening adventures on her @inatinygarden Instagram account, where she’s built up a brilliantly supportive community of like-minded people.
We’re excited to tell you that we’re going to be working with Katelyn over the next few months to bring news about Ecotricity’s green energy to keen gardeners and wildlife enthusiasts everywhere.
We caught up with Katelyn to find out a little more about @inatinygarden and to speak to her about why she chose to work with Ecotricity…
Welcome, Katelyn! So, first things first – how did you get started?
My appreciation of homegrown fruit and vegetables started at a young age with my grandad growing veg in his tiny back garden. But it wasn't like I was an avid gardener from the age of three!
I was living in a rented London flat with one sunny window that happened to be in the bedroom and I started growing herbs and microgreens. It was a really lovely escape from the stresses of my job even if the planter meant I had to jump over the bed to get out of the room!
Then I moved to this house with the tiny garden – it's about five by four meters – and that just changed everything. I wanted to know absolutely everything there was to know about growing plants. In 2018, I got the keys to our first allotment plot after a five-year wait and enrolled in a part-time horticulture diploma, which was super exciting.
What makes you so passionate about gardening?
I just love my veggies, so being able to grow my own is incredible. There's no easier way to develop a passion for organic and sustainable practices than to grow something from seed, eat the fresh produce and compost the rest.
I hope my @inatinygarden Instagram account inspires people to give gardening a go, in a sustainable, organic and peat-free way. This year I started a YouTube channel with weekly propagating videos, growing from seed to harvest, as well as garden and plot tours.
I’ll be charging my car on the Ecotricity Electric Highway to film a Beyond the Tiny Garden series. I've got some visits coming up to inspirational organic growing spaces in the UK and I also hope to visit one of the Ecotricity solar or wind parks – as well as one of the nature reserves you’ve started.
Can you tell us a little about your gardening philosophy?
Well, it all starts with the soil! After a lot of research, I started out “no dig”, peat-free and organic in the tiny garden and allotment.
No dig is fantastic because it keeps your soil really active. I put a layer of compost on the top and then I let the earthworms and microorganisms incorporate it instead of doing the backbreaking work myself because that's what they're there for! It also means that I'm not disturbing the soil microorganisms and it keeps the carbon dioxide in the soil. The compost also acts as a mulch that helps to keep moisture in the soil so you don't need to water or weed as much.
Peat bogs are vitally important for sustaining life so choosing peat-free compost is important. They prevent flooding, they purify water and are huge carbon sinks. The UK government keeps pushing back the target to stop selling it for domestic use.
Lockdown has meant we happily have loads more keen gardeners out there, but they might not realise the composts on sale can be full of peat.
What do you do for wildlife in your garden?
I grow plants that flower at different times of year for the pollinators. Growing a lot of flowering plants is really important for our biodiversity and our pollinators.
Having bird feeders in your garden is fantastic because not only are they great to watch, they also entice natural predators of aphids and caterpillars into the garden.
It's great to encourage slug and snail eating hedgehogs by making a 13x13cm hole in your garden fence – you can link up all the gardens in your neighbourhood to create safe corridors called nature highways. I haven't got everybody on board on my street yet, but I'm trying!
What’s the one plant everyone should have?
I'm totally obsessed with my blueberry plant and I wonder why everyone isn’t growing one! It’s a patio variety called Sunshine Blue which stays a nice smallish shape, under 1m, and it’s covered in blueberries in summer.
There's two of us here and it provides more than you can eat on your breakfast cereal every morning for months. If you've got a patio it's actually better to grow it in a pot with ericaceous compost unless you have really acidic soil. It has beautiful pink flowers in the spring and it's also evergreen, so it just looks good all the time.
Why have you decided to partner with Ecotricity?
I've been an Ecotricity customer and massive fan for eight years. As soon as we moved to our own place, we researched who the most sustainable energy company was. From time to time we look again but we always come up with Ecotricity!
Switching to Ecotricity specifically seems like one of the most logical and impactful ways to make your household more sustainable, without having to change pretty much anything that you're already doing.
You're actually investing in something rather than just paying your bill, which is what I really like. And I love that there's zero greenwashing with Ecotricity, unlike most of the other green energy providers popping up.
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