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Five tips for growing your own food at home

Heather

Written by

Heather

Last updated Friday 9th April 2021

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There’s no denying that, thanks to lockdown, gardening is back in vogue, especially when it comes to growing your own food. If want to take a bite out of something you’ve grown from scratch, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give it a try. You don’t need an enormous garden to get started with fruit and vegetables, even those in flats can get involved! Food can be grown on...

  • Patios
  • Balconies
  • Greenhouses
  • Raised beds
  • Flower beds
  • Window stills

As long as you have sunlight, a vessel to hold soil, and access to water, you’re sure to be able to grow some kind of vegetable.

Therefore, don’t be put off if you’re struggling for space, gardening can be enjoyed by everyone! Here are our top tips for all those beginners starting to get their hands dirty…

Start with the vegetables you love

While beginners are always going to be drawn to the easier varieties of fruit and vegetables, don’t forget to factor in personal taste too. It’s the food that you love which will inspire you to care for them, especially during those early months when you’re staring at nothing but tiny stalks and leaves.

Therefore, look at this list of easy to grow veg and ask yourself: what would I like to eat the most?

  • Bush tomatoes
  • Beetroot
  • Salad leaves
  • Courgette
  • Chillies
  • Kale
  • Cabbage
  • Swiss chard
  • Potatoes

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Anything can be a planter

You don’t need to fork out for fancy pots and planters, plenty of household items can be recycled into a container for your garden. You might opt for an old mop bucket or some cleaned out paint cans - even yoghurt pots can be used to grow seedlings!

Just remember to add in some drainage holes, this will help stop your plants from drowning or developing rot.

Keep your soil nice and loose

A common mistake new gardeners make is going overboard with soil. If you’re using containers to house your vegetables, make sure you keep your soil nice and loose for planting. If you fill your pot or planter to the brim and then press it down, it’s less soil and more like concrete for a plant. Fingers crossed, your plants will be doing a lot of growing, so make sure they can move about easily.

Planting up, rather than out

Short on space? No problem, you can maximise your veg patch by growing up, rather than out. Vertical gardening utilises trellises, cages, string, and other supports to train certain varieties of vegetables to grow upwards, which can help you save a lot of space.

Alongside providing extra room for growth, this method can also improve the circulation of your plants. Better circulation means you can prevent mildew and other diseases that thrive in cramped conditions.

Give your seeds the best start

The cheapest way to grow produce is to start from seed, rather than buying starter plants from the garden centre. You could even gather seeds from the vegetables you already have in your fridge by plucking them out and drying them.

No matter where you get your seeds, you should sow them into a fine compost, which is usually labelled ‘seed compost’ in the shops. Grow them in a 10cm sized pot and once four or five leaves have emerged, they should be ready to go outside or into a bigger, indoor container.

With any luck, in a few months time, you’ll be able to enjoy your first home-grown meal!

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