In a bid to become more eco friendly and with the rising food costs at the supermarkets I’ve started a little food growing project. This is also the way forward for healthy eating because it’s not only fat free and low carbohydrates that assist in getting the body you truly want. It is how these foods are grown and produced that can have a large impact.
What to Grow?
Perhaps it’s an obvious one but grow things you’ll want to eat. Famous at work for my lunchtime salads (the onion doesn’t half give off a pungent aroma in such a small office) it’s no surprise the individual ingredients feature heavily in my first attempt. Specifically, I’ve got wild rocket, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, peppers and red onions.
The costs involved for set up needn’t break the bank, which is part of the attraction. Ranging from 99p or less to about £2 for various packets of seeds or sets it works out cheaper than a loaf of bread. Ok, stop! Rewind! Let’s just think about that for a moment. Buy a packet of tomato seeds for about 99p, sow them, feed them, nurture them and they should yield about twenty or so individual tomato plants, perhaps more. Or spend it on a loaf of bread, half of which you’ll probably end up chucking in your food waste bin.
You can buy a propagator growing kit from Tesco for under £5 which contains the seed propagator, compost and seeds. I also bought a separate cucumber pot growing kit for under £3 and a small Wild Rocket growing pot for 75p.
Where to Grow?
Don’t have a big garden in which to plant your supermarket’s worth of produce? No bother. Your windowsills, garden steps or patios will suffice. That’s right. You needn’t have a large plot of land. No vast expanse of earth that requires tilling at the break of dawn before the summer sun bakes it solid (we should be so lucky).
Once the seeds have sprouted and grown so high, replant them in individual pots to grow on. This can be repeated as and where necessary into still larger pots. With things like onions and potatoes you plant directly into the soil you have available or as I’m doing, in large troughs and pots with compost.
Most will come with their own instructions. Where these are brief or you feel you need more information on how to proceed there’s a wealth of books on the subject. To further keep costs low you can find such books at charity shops or car boot sales.
There are also numerous websites, some which run forums where you can become part of a green growing community. You can share your thoughts and ideas about it all and ask any questions. Google and ye shall know.
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes
One word of advice from my personal experience so far is perhaps not to sow ALL the tomato seeds at once. My lounge windowsill is now in danger of being taken over by them. So long as they aren’t of the psychopathic mass murdering variety all should be well.
Amongst the many benefits is the great satisfaction and achievement you’ll feel when harvest time comes round. Invite your friends round one late summer evening and offer them a salad to go with the pizza you have in the oven. Then watch the surprise on their face as they watch you pull up some rocket from the pot on the garden step, pick some tomatoes from the plants on the windowsill and dig up an onion from the larger pot on the patio.
So far so good on Rob’s farm, the peppers are shooting up which will be the next to be replanted into pots. The carrots have started coming through and even though I only planted my red onion sets just over a week ago, the downpours have spurred them into rapid growth. They’ll be the size of footballs if this rain continues. Now all that remains is for me to plant some spuds and sort out my coriander.
Next year I’m planning an even bigger project so watch out for my range coming to a supermarket near you.