You can’t beat the taste of home-grown food – or the pride that comes with knowing you grew and harvested it yourself!
Not sure where to start? Take inspiration from our top tips for beginners…
- How to grow food in small spaces
Don’t have any outside space? Only have a balcony or small patio? Don’t despair! You don’t need a large garden or allotment to grow tasty treats at home.
There are lots of crops you can grow in containers, from Mediterranean herbs like basil to spicy chillies and delicious greens that can be grown in a window box. Try a juicy tomato plant – all you need is a sunny, sheltered spot with room for a pot or growing bag!
- Tips for growing herbs at home
Herbs are a great place to start with ‘grow your own’ – you only need a sunny windowsill, they add instant flavour to meals, and you can avoid buying plastic-wrapped herbs at the supermarket.
You can buy most herbs as a small plant and transfer them into a larger pot at home, or grow from seeds – simply sow seeds thinly across the surface of small pots filled with potting compost, water and wait! Keep the soil damp and give them plenty of light. Chives are a low-maintenance plant, perfect for beginners – and because they’re perennial, they grow back every year. In fact, the more you snip, the more they grow!
- Tips for growing your own vegetables
Start by identifying the easiest crops to grow – look for low maintenance vegetables that are ready to harvest fairly quickly.
Potatoes are a great place to start, but chillies, radishes and salad leaves like rocket are also good for beginners. Choose a sheltered spot with plenty of sun and follow the seed packet’s spacing suggestions to avoid growing plants too closely together. Prepare your soil by removing stones and weeds, and mix in compost to improve the soil quality. It’s best to wait until the sun has warmed up the soil.
- Tips for growing your own fruit
From apples and pears to blackberries and raspberries, grow your own fruit to enjoy delicious home-picked treats all through the summer. Firstly, consider your environment – citrus fruits don’t always do well in the UK climate, unless you have a greenhouse or orangery.
Most fruit plants need damp soil – plant berry bushes and fruit trees outside and water well after planting. Spreading a thick layer of mulch over the soil can also help to keep moisture in the soil while letting rainwater through. Fruit trees may need staking to keep them growing upright if they are in a breezy location, until they are large enough to hold their shape – bamboo canes are a perfect natural material for this, cut to the same height of the tree. Don’t tie them together too tightly or you may damage the tree.
Did you know… If you’re planting crops in a bed, planting marigolds in and around your fruit or veg can help to ward off pests!