There is no denying that the best way to get fresh, zero waste produce for cooking amazing vegan meals is growing your own. Home grown just tastes so much better! Every year, for this reason, I like to do a post on gardening just to remind people of this wonderful option (although feeling very middle aged doing it haha!!). If I had a bigger space I would try and grow everything for the year, but sadly I live right in the city centre so space is tight. If you have a large space, great just grow loads of everything (or at least try to). However, no matter what space you have there are options for you, you may not manage to grow much, but you will manage to grow something and now is the best time to start sowing seeds. So if you have any interest in trying to grow your own food, or even just some herbs this year, read on, I have a couple of tips to make it all a bit easier.
Put plants on the windowsill
If you have a window sill, you can grow plants on it. Anything from herbs to tomato plants. Have a think about what veg you really like and try growing it! Last year I grew tomatoes in my kitchen as it gets a fair bit of sun and they turned out brilliant. I actually had to give away plants as so many of them took. This year I will be trying to grow more things on the windowsills in my house, I may even get some in the bedrooms to maximise the use of space.
Pick things which will keep growing
If you have limited space, try to pick vegetables which will keep growing, things like leafy green lettuce, kale, spinach and chard can have leaves picked whilst they will still grow more. Likewise, sugar snap peas will allow you to pick the pods whilst still growing more. This way you can have food for a slightly longer period of time. Plants like beetroot or carrots just grow one vegetable and when you are tight on space a plant which will grow loads of fruit or veg is a better option than one carrot!
Use grow bags
Another great option for growing veg is in grow bags. We had a fab crop of potatoes last year. This year I think I will get some squash in there too. They are good as they keep that particular fruit or veg separate, which is great for plants that love to take over, like strawberries, or mint. They are also good as they can be put anywhere while you need them, even on a front doorstep and then the bag can be folded up and put away if you are really short on space.
Seed swaps at work/ with friends
Seeds come in packets which will last only a year or two and have far more in them than you could every use. It can become quite wasteful and expensive buying loads of different types, so try sharing with a friend, you will not be the only one with excess seeds! At work we have decided to have a bit of a seed swap this year as well as a few of us try growing veg so we are each buying something different.
Rather than putting food waste out in the caddy the council give you, put it in your garden so you don’t need to buy new compost each year. You can either buy a big garden composter (they cost around £30) or compost in trenches. This literally means you dig a hole a foot deep and just put the food waste in there. The larger the pieces the longer they will take to decompose, but peelings and mulch from the juicer will decompose quite quickly. This task is generally done in autumn after things have died off so by spring you can mix great new soil. But it is not too late, just put in the quickly decomposing scraps and make sure you do not plant right above them. If you plant to the side, the plants can still get the nutrients (apparently, I am yet to try this, but Google assures me it’s right!!). I would even hazard a guess you could put some quick decomposing scraps in a grow bag with some soil and make some extra that way, I am certainly going to give it a try!
If you want some tips on exactly what to grow and what I have had success with, have a read at my previous post on growing your own. My fave and easiest are always sugar snap peas, brussel sprouts and potatoes. Let me know what you intend on growing, or if you have some good tips please do share as I myself am only a novice in all this I will take all the advice I can get! Happy planting!