Growing your food: a beginner's guide

There are lots of benefits to growing healthy foods in your own garden, and the process is a lot easier than some people may think, too. There is a great deal of satisfaction to be had from eating foods you have grown yourself, while many people are also adamant that home-grown produce tastes better than anything they've bought in a supermarket.

One of the biggest advantages to home-grown fruit and vegetables is that you get the freshest produce available to you, while it can also help save money and reduce waste, as anything you don't use can become fertiliser. It also means you can avoid consuming chemicals from pesticides, as you'll have complete control over what goes into your food.

Gardening is also a great form of exercise, while getting your children out to help can give them a better understanding of where food comes from, as well as about food sustainability. Even small children can help with planting seeds, maybe pulling up a few weeds and also by harvesting food when it is ready to eat.

A beginner 's guide to growing your own food

The first thing to assess is how much room you have to use for growing fruit and vegetables. The good news is it doesn't matter if you have limited space, as even a windowsill can be used to grow some products. However, it is advisable that with whatever space you decide to use, you should aim to start small and gradually build your garden up year-on-year.

You may decide you want to limit your produce initially to a container. There are lots of vegetables, fruits and herbs that can grow well inside a container, with strawberries being a particular favourite.

If you decide you want something a little more complex, the best locations are normally those that receive a lot of sunlight - preferably at least six hours a day - and one that drains well. Before you decide, watch your garden after a heavy rainfall. If your preferred area is free from puddles a few hours later, it is probably a good site to use.

A fairly simple starting point could be a 'no-dig' garden, which reduces the need for any weeding and you can grow a whole number of fruits and vegetables in this type of garden. Potatoes, pumpkins and strawberries are particularly good options.

One you have selected your area to use, think about the produce you'd like to grow. A simple salad garden may be an easy step as lettuces and other green products don't need too much space, and can grow quickly. Some gardeners may want to start all their produce from seeds which is fine, but if you are new to gardening it may be worth trying to use some seedlings, which can help increase your chances of success. This success can be built on if every time you harvest you plant new crops at the same time.

I don't have any garden space - can I still grow my own food?

Of course! If you have a spare window ledge that catches the sun, you can grow a number of foods in a window box. These include carrots, microgreens, tomatoes and herbs. You can even grow mushrooms inside the house.


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