‘Grow your own’ is nothing new – kitchen gardens, allotments and veg patches have been around forever. However, in the past few years there has been more and more of us squeezing edible plants onto our rooftops and balconies, with a younger, health conscious and eco-friendly generation realising the benefits of growing your own fruit and veg, and becoming a little more sustainable.
I dread to think about how much plastic I get through buying supermarket produce. It’s relatively cheap and irresistibly convenient, especially living in central London, where farm shops are few and organic veg from health stores costs almost as much as rent.
I’ve always enjoyed growing edibles, but this year I want it to be more than just a satisfying hobby, and actually form a substantial part of the greens I eat. I’ve planned out how many pots, troughs and make-shift containers I can fit into my south-London garden, and what will grow in each. I’ve learnt from recent years that growing too many of the same thing either leads to a glut of produce, or all of them failing if the conditions aren’t right. For that reason I’m going to grow fewer numbers of more types of veg. I’ll keep two or three of each variety, giving extra away to friends in order to avoid overcrowding.
What’s in the line up? So far I’ve sown (ambitiously for February) broad beans, potatoes and tomatoes, all indoors. I’ve got herbs and salad on the windowsill, and hardy peas planted outside. In a few months time when the weather is warmer, I’m going to add strawberries, spinach, cabbage, green beans, courgette and aubergine. I’ve tried aubergines before and they didn’t survive beyond seedlings, so this year it’s Take 2 with a dwarf variety that will grow in a pot and can be moved around to the most suitable place in the garden.
If you’ve never grown veg before, then tomatoes, salad leaves and green beans are easy options to start with. However, it’s a good idea to consider what you eat most of and save yourself money, time and plastic waste by growing your own. Let me know how you get on!