Grow Your Own Food

Want to produce your own herbs and veg but not sure where to start? Here are some tips so you can start growing your own.

Picking home-grown fruit, vegetables and herbs will give you a real sense of satisfaction, plus it’s a great way to save money when feeding a growing family. Even if you’re not particularly green-fingered, you can start a small, low-maintenance herb garden relatively quickly and easily, while teaching your kids a valuable life skill.

Size doesn’t matter

You don’t need a great big plot to start growing your own food. If you have a small or shady garden, or you don’t want to lose space for your kids to play in, pots work just as well. Why not try a vertical garden? All you need are some nails or hooks on a wall and some hanging pots (your plants might even get more hours of sunlight if they’re higher up). Focus on a few plants at first and add more once your edible garden is established. This way you can take time to care for a few plants, and you won’t be overrun with too much at harvest time.

Location, location, location

If you plant in the wrong place, it’ll be a nightmare to get your little plants going and you’ll probably give up before you’ve started. The most important factor is sunlight: most vegetable and herb plants need a minimum of six hours of full sunlight a day. If you don’t have any sunny spots, opt for herbs and vegetables that don’t mind more shade, like oregano, mint, beetroot and carrot. You’ll also want to pick somewhere your plants won’t be forgotten. Put them close to a window or where your kids often play, so you’ll remember to water them and be able to see when it’s time to harvest!

Know when to plant

Look for a planting calendar for your region online, as this will tell you when your seedlings will have the greatest chance of success. If you can’t wait to get going, opt for hardier herbs and vegetables like mint, rocket, beetroot and chives, which can survive planting at most times of the year, except maybe peak winter.

Choosing what to plant

This is a fun activity for the whole family. Think of plants you love to cook with – if your kids are tomato crazy, opt for tomatoes. A fun way to get everyone invested is to let every family member pick one or two vegetables or herbs to plant. Or maybe you’d like to reduce your exposure to chemicals, in which case you can choose fruits and vegetables that tend to have more pesticide residue, like strawberries, spinach, tomatoes and peppers.

A family affair

Make planting and watering part of family time, so it doesn’t become just another chore. It’s a great way to teach kids how to be responsible and nurturing. Plus, they’ll feel a real sense of accomplishment when they see those first green shoots, and when they’re able to pick their own herbs and veggies for dinner.

So, what are you waiting for? Get planting and enjoy your home-grown produce!

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