Grow your own in 2018

Growing your own fruit and veg can be incredibly rewarding, fulfilling and stress busting. Studies have shown that being outdoors in green spaces can help with depression, anxiety and stress, not to mention the physical benefits of fresh air and exercise! Growing your own fruit and veg can save you money, and add extra flavour to your meals.  You can make birthday and Christmas gifts with home grown fruits and herbs and encourage wildlife into your garden. Getting your children involved can help them to be more adventurous with food and willing to eat their veggies! Like the sound of it but worried you don’t have a clue where to start? Read on to find out more…

Where
  • Space – consider the space you have and know that no space is too small! A windowsill, garden, patio or even a balcony, all are great places to grow your own fruit, veg or herbs!
  • Sun – whatever you decide to grow will need sun, warmth and shelter; find the sunniest spot you have to cultivate your very own produce.
  • Cover – your seeds need the best start they can get. Grow them under cover so they don’t get eaten by plants and insects before they’ve had a chance. You can, however, grow your root crops in the garden straight away because they don’t tend to like being transplanted.
  • Soil – most normal garden soils are fine for growing, but make sure you avoid extremes. Just a few rules of thumb are to make sure your soil is at least as deep as the length of your spade’s blade. Get rid of the majority of stones if you can to avoid the root vegetables kinking. Consider building raised beds or grow crops in big pots. Get rid of us many weeds as you can, this will really help growth!
Start sowing indoors

Different veg and herbs can be sown and grown at different times of the year. In March you can sow the following indoors: Aubergines, basil, brussel sprouts, cauliflowers, celery (from the middle of the month onwards), chilli and sweet peppers and perennial herbs such as lemon balm, rosemary, sage, oregano and thyme under cover.

Alternatively, plant some seeds straight outdoors. Beetroot, broad beans, carrots, kale, leeks, parsnips, peas, spinach, turnips, herbs such as chives, coriander, dill and parsley directly into the ground or in containers or try growing your own watercress in containers, making sure the container is sitting in 2-3 inches of water at all times.

With an increasing amount of research being released into the dangers of herbicides and pesticides being sprayed on crops that we buy from the shops, there has never been a better time to consider growing your own. It can be easy, simple and enjoyable, decrease stress levels, encourage more activity and encourage better eating habits for the whole family!

Jo Saines

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