At work, I deal with beautiful and ‘green’ products- photographing and researching them and it’s a very pleasant way to spend time in the office! But as soon as I get home, the gloves go on and the gardening begins!
If you live in the countryside, or are lucky enough to have a garden in a city or town then the chances are, you have learnt a bit about gardening! It also won’t have escaped your attention that there is a ‘growing’ movement towards using your outdoor space to grow your own food. This is actually a ‘regrowth’ as until the 1950’s/60’s British gardens were often the primary source of fresh fruit and veg for the family home. And we all remember the ‘Dig For Victory’ campaign during the Second World War where gardens, parks, school grounds and even the moat around the Tower of London were all turned into allotments to support the war effort.
I have grown fruits and veggies since I was a child at middle school. And even though we have moved many times, I have always managed to find both the space and the time. Now we live in the Wiltshire countryside and have a lovely big garden so it’s easy to find the space, and I make sure I have the time! But please don’t think it can’t be done elsewhere!
So, why should we do it now?! There are a lot of reasons why NOT that is for sure: There’s plenty of good quality food in our supermarkets, with huge amounts of variety to choose from. We are busier than ever with work, social life, children, and all the activities that our modern lives and budgets can afford. We have apps that can deliver fresh, organic food to our doorsteps at the click of a button. Our gardens and outdoor spaces are shrinking.
Well, to counteract this let me give you a few reasons why we should-
- It’s fun, trust me, it is!
- The whole family can get stuck in. There is no upper or lower age limit on gardening. Younger people will learn so much from managing to grow, harvest, cook and eat the produce. Older people will benefit from time outdoors and the extra bit of exercise and achievement
- Most spaces can be adapted to different abilities and mobility- see this post from the Ability Superstore.
- You can garden pretty much anywhere; be radical- grow radishes in your window box! Vertical Veg have ideas on how to get started in any small space- patio, balcony, windowsill. And this blog will show you how to make a pocket garden for a wall or fence
There are so many benefits – here’s just a few of them:
- Healthier for you- homegrown has more nutrients and will be fresher.
- Healthier for your environment- you may choose to garden without pesticides , good news for your insect friends!
- Physical activity is boosted.
- Save money at the supermarket.
- Encourage children to try new fruits and veg.
- Learning new skills helps keep your brain sharp.
- Gardening has been linked to improved mental health and well being, this leaflet from Thrive explains more.
- Community gardening or sharing with neighbours builds a sense of community. Excesses & gluts can be shared with others, you will always end up with more if you are prepared to share! We delivered courgettes around our street and came back with, apples, jam, & homemade biscuits! Yum!
How to get started
You will need to dedicate a space, get some simple equipment- not much- a trowel, a bucket some plant pots and a pair of gardening gloves will do for a start! And you will need to decide what you want to grow! Easy veggies and fruits to grow include:
- Salad Leaves. Crunchy fresh leaves with a fantastic range of textures and flavours.
- Spring onions and Radishes.
- Broad Beans.
- Runner Beans.
You can pick up seeds or seedlings from supermarkets, homeware stores and garden centres, or, like me you can have a catalogue delivered and circle all the ones you want like a child just before Christmas! Local seed swaps are great if you want to try out before spending lots of money, check your local paper or online magazine for dates.
For a complete beginners guide to starting gardening, The Royal Horticultural Society is the place to go. This guide has all the information you need, and the internet is at your (green) fingertips!
Growing your own vegetables will make you a happier person- as one of my favourite quotes says:
We will be adding blogs as the seasons go on to help you decide what to grow and what to make with the fruits of your labours!