Growing your own food feels like an unachievable goal for those of us dependent on the comfort of store-bought fruit and veg or chain-produced wheat products. Yes, the whole process takes a lot of time and dedication, but that’s just like most things in life that bring us long term happiness. There is an astounding amount of reasons, both health-based and environmental, why you should make the switch to organic home-grown food.
Currently, only 1 in 6 adults in the UK grow their own food, this is still an increase from previous years, as a result of rising food prices. Saving money, saving the environment, and saving your health.
The best thing about growing your own food isn't the satisfaction you get when you bite into your first home grown tomato, plucked straight from the vine or the hundreds of pounds you can save, it's the massive amount of nutrients your body can enjoy.
You may think that the fruit and veg sold in shops is no different, unfortunately commercially grown food is subject to select breeding. Farmers want to grow more food at a quicker rate, by using hybrid plants, as well as, a stockpile of pesticides. This drastically alters the quality of the food, stripping it of many fruitful nutrients.
More nutrients equals better health, for you and your family. The food you grow will be bursting with vitamins, you can control the growing environment of your food, and you can prevent any risk of food contamination.
The food and agriculture market accounts for over a quarter (26%) of global greenhouse gas emissions, 78% of global ocean and freshwater pollution and takes up70% of global freshwater withdrawals. So, taking the step towards growing food at home would greatly decrease your carbon footprint. Growing organic food saves the earth from any unnecessary air and water pollution, as there is no use of pesticides or herbicides and your food is right on your doorstep, which prevents the fossil fuels from forming as a result of the transport of fresh produce to your local supermarket.
Aside from all these amazing benefits, gardening puts you in that feel-good state of mind. It is relaxing and enables you to connect with mother nature. Participating in such rewarding and peaceful activities works wonders on your mental health. Not to mention, all that extra vitamin D you will be absorbing while gardening.
‘Oh but I don’t know anything about gardening’
It really isn't rocket science, and there are plenty of online tutorials and blog posts that outline the best gardening hacks. Even those of us who have managed to overwater a cactus can master the art of home farming.
Here is our very easy to follow, 5 step guide to growing your own food:
Pick a spot and pick a season. Before you even think about putting anything in the ground make sure you have picked the correct season for the fruit or vegetable you are trying to grow, as well as the most nutritious garden patch.
Tend to your soil. Start by testing your soil, with a simple squeeze test this will help determine your soil type and tell you what your soil needs. Based on the results, meet your soils demands using compost.
Sow Sow Sow. Time to put your seeds in the soil. For all the novice growers, most fruit and veg are available aas plug plants, meaning they’re half grown so all you have to do is stick them in the ground, water and watch the magic happen.
Just add water and cover up. It’s a very simple step, just make sure you do your research and know your plants water intake. Some plants may be prone to pests, and frost, if that’s the case, provide them with an appropriate cover.
Harvest and enjoy!
If you’re seriously considering growing your own food, here are some easy-to-grow fruit and vegetables you can start with: radishes, potatoes, runner beans, garlic and onions.
Whatever the motivation behind starting a backyard garden, there is no doubt the results will be fruitful.