If you’re like me and are concerned about where your food is from and how it is produced then growing your own from home might be the answer for you!
There is something incredibly rewarding and satisfying about growing your own food, and of course you have the added bonus of the convenience of nipping out into the garden as and when you need it. This means that less food is going to go off as you will be picking enough for what you need and won’t have loads left over, which tends to happen in our family if ever we end up going out for tea a couple of nights and don’t end up eating what we’ve bought in. Freshly picked foods are incredibly high in natural vitamins and minerals and are full of flavour. What’s more, they have not been wrapped in plastic containers which can leach into your foods.
You might find that you are quite good at gardening and could actually enjoy it. There is an element of job satisfaction when you see your plants grow. Ensure you make time to reflect on the work that you have done.
This will be the third year I have spent growing some of my own foods in the garden. Although I have two modest sized raised beds (not huge or anything) I do think it is possible to grow salad from the garden even if it is small. You don’t necessarily need to have raised beds. When tyres have been used, it is difficult for places to scrap them. Call in to a local tyre place and ask for old tyres. I’m pretty certain they will be happy to give them away for FREE!
I took inspiration from my dad after seeing his garden. It was incredible and he certainly made it all look very easy but also very professional. He had made a huge greenhouse (he’s very practical) and had lots of raised beds made from wood. When I visited years back, I was keen to get going on my own garden. Eating and buying organic foods from the supermarket can sometimes be expensive and if you don’t eat those foods within a few days, they end up as waste. As mentioned previously, when you have a garden to graze from, you can pick the foods ready for when you need them, from the convenience of the back garden. If you are working a diet based on REAL foods, then this is ideal. It takes time and a little patience but I truly believe it is worth it.
What will you need?
- Good quality compost
- A container or ‘patch’ (maybe check where the nearest allotment is. These usually have a waiting time but the great thing is you can ask other people for support or advice and some people are happy to swap produce etc)
- Seeds or plants (a wise man once told me to stick to what you will use, and not get carried away….)
- Tools such as a garden spade, rake and plant cutters. You might also find a trowel useful for digging holes for planting. Pots, trays and propagators will also be useful for starting plants off indoors.
- Hose or watering can
- OPTIONAL: Nets
- OPTIONAL: Fertiliser
- OPTIONAL: Slug pallets. Take caution though as these contain a chemical called METALDEHYDE, which is toxic. Read more HERE. I have done some research online and you can get Nemaslug – Slug Killer. It is chemical free and contains nematodes, which are in fact already present in the soil. Mix with water and apply. I haven’t used this so I am unable to comment on the effectiveness but it is suggested that it treats the soil for up to 2 months after just one application. Doesn’t sound bad! I have tried the beer traps before and they worked great but you have to keep topping them up.
Keep your eyes peeled on the gardening section of my blog, I will be adding Terry’s Top Tips!
What you need to know
If your garden is small and you do not have a lots of room then don’t grow vegetables that need a lot of room such as courgettes. If you are short on time avoid plants that need a lot of care and attention such as tomatoes. If you want something that is quick and easy to grow with huge success rate then try lettuce and kale. You might want to try these plants as a starting point. You can even grow them from large pots. These do not cost a lot of money and do not take up much space. Perfect for beginners!
Consider the best place for your plants to be planted – in areas of the garden that gain the most sunlight and heat. I think it is worth starting to grow some plants in doors initially. This way they are kept warm and out of the wind. Consider if you have space for a small greenhouse.
Shelter is also another important factor for some plants as wind can put plants under stress. If you decide to purchase a material greenhouse make sure that it has some form of wind barrier and that it is securely fastened to the ground. When I went away for Christmas one year I came back and the greenhouse was ripped and had been destroyed by the wind.
You need to be prepared to weed your plot and also take care of pesticides such as slugs. Definite, definitely not for the squeamish but don’t let that put you off.
You also need to know when the best time to water your plants is. For example, you might not want to water them while the sun is scorching hot outside. Not usually a problem in the UK but we have had an incredibly hot week. Be sure to water your plants frequently.
You will probably want to avoid artificial fertilisers and pesticides as these are absorbed by the body through the soil and therefore through the plants that you eat. Ultimately, it’s up to you.
My Top Tips
- Watch You Tube clips to get ideas, especially about which plants to put together. Some plants, such as onions keep away flies. Brassicas attract flies so it might be worth putting up a net.
- Find out which plants grow well for the time of year you are going to plant. Nobody wants to waste their time and money, even if you DO learn by doing.
- Plan which foods you are most likely to eat and stick to them!Don’t plant too much at once.
- Do your research. Are the plants you have chosen easy to grow? As much as I like asparagus, I know it takes a long time for it to grow.
- If you want to get going quickly, websites such as Rocket Gardens sell plants partly grown (as opposed to seeds) Simply plant and wait.
- Find out where your nearest allotment is. Make friends! I am so glad that I met Terry. He has given me so much advise and has also been over to help me with my garden. This includes planting and tending to it.
- Get creative. Look at Pinterest. Find ideas on how to decorate your garden. I love this bit!
I LOVE COLOUR!
Terry’s Top Tips