The environmental benefits of growing your own foods
Growing your own food might not be as easy as running to the grocery section at your local store but hear us out on this one.
Not only will you save on your grocery bill, know exactly what’s going into your food, and eat more fresh produce, you’ll also be giving the environment a big helping hand. That’s because you won’t be buying produce that has travelled a long way to get to the store, and nor will you be picking up piles of plastic and cardboard that it’s all packaged in, either.
Plus, it’s really not as hard as your green-thumbed friends might have you believe.
How to grow your own at home
To begin, pick a spot outside where you’ll plant your produce. The rule of thumb is that if you’d like to live there, your plants probably do too, as it should be sunny and sheltered from the wind.
Next, prep the soil. Not all soil is created equal, so you’ll want to make it as welcoming as possible by adding a good fertiliser from your local garden centre. These fertilisers are filled with beneficial nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous, which are vital for helping plants to grow.
Loosen up the soil and mix in the fertiliser, and don’t forget to add some compost.
Start with veggies that are a little easier to grow, such as broccoli, zucchini, celery, spring onions, lettuce, and radish.
Plant them in the morning or the evening when the midday sun won’t cook them as you’re planting, and give them a good drink of water as a housewarming present. Make sure to plant the bigger veggies (like broccoli and lettuce) two handspans apart so they have room to grow.
Keep watering them every day, and don’t be afraid to add more fertiliser if they aren’t growing as expected.
Growing fruit is especially fun, as you can eat it straight off the tree once it’s ready.
Obviously, you’ll want to start by planting a feijoa tree (start with a baby plant, it’s much easier than seeds). The best part is that you can plant them all year round, although they do prefer to be planted in autumn if you can wait.
Other great fruit trees to grow at home include apple, peach, and citrus trees, as you can find dwarf varieties of the former two so they don’t get too big, and citrus trees can even thrive in large pots.
Unfortunately, you’ll have to be patient, as it’s best practice to remove any fruit that starts growing during the first year. That helps to encourage the tree to use its strength to continue to grow and flourish, rather than focus on producing fruits.
Growing herbs is surprisingly easy. The hard part is not getting carried away and eating them all as soon as they grow.
The tricky part is the fact that herbs are a bit precious about where you plant them.
- Mint: Loves damp growing conditions and partial shade
- Thyme: Thrives in the sunshine
- Basil: Enjoys the view from a pot on your kitchen counter
- Oregano: Give it all the sun and plenty of space
- Rosemary: Perfect for a pot outside
- Parsley: Give it all the sun and water
You can grow these from seed, but you might find it easier to pick up a live plant and give yourself a head start. Fortunately, clipping them all back regularly will encourage growth, so you’ll have plenty of excuses to add herbs to your cooking and cocktails.
Growing chocolate cake
Just kidding. We’ll stay on top of the latest and keep you informed though!
What you get by growing your own fresh produce
What’s not to love about growing your own fresh produce at home? You get:
- More fresh produce than you can shake a celery stick at
- Lower grocery bills
- No more buying produce that has travelled to get to you
- No more bags, boxes, and stickers
- More fruit and veg in your diet
- Inspire your friends and family to grow some fruit & veg – you could even start up a fresh food swap!
- Total control over what you put on your produce (AKA no pesticides)
- A garden to be proud of when mum visits
And the best part? The very, very best part? Obviously the number one reason to grow more produce at home?
You're making our fine land look even greener and cleaner. Nice job!
22 Jan 2021