12 Jun Video: Top tips for growing your own veg
It’s incredibly satisfying to grow something from scratch. The sense of achievement that you’ve nursed a tiny seed or food scrap into a fully-fledged, flowering plant. And it’s a real bonus when these plants provide delicious food for you to enjoy, which is great for both the environment and your mealtimes!
Today’s blog post features a video from Tara, one of our Countryside Rangers, as she shows us around her impressive allotment and shares her tips for getting started. Now, Tara is a really established gardener – as you’ll see from the video – but it doesn’t take too much work to produce incredible results. With a bit of effort, you’ll be a green fingered guru in no time!
We hope Tara’s video inspires you. If so, we’ve collected all of Tara’s top tips below as well as some extra information for beginners.
- Growing your own plants really doesn’t have to be expensive. You can even use food scraps or leftover seeds and start from there.
- The basic rule of thumb is to plant seeds in soil, water them, provide them with sunlight and watch them go – sounds easy, right!
- Seeds are best planted in April but there’s no strict rule on this. Alternatively, now could be a great time to buy small vegetable plants from your local garden centre to plant. You can also try this with herb plants from supermarkets.
- You don’t need a garden, or even an outside space; you can try little pots on your windowsill for plants such as chillies. Or how about popping some large vases on your balcony or patio? Alternatively, you could try containers. Simply put the seed or vegetable (such as a sprouting potato) in the container, fill it with soil and let it do its magic!
- Once you’ve had a successful plant, you can use their seeds the following year to keep the plant thriving. Similarly, plants such as strawberries and courgettes will spread so one good year will mean an even better crop the next.
And, if you can’t get to a garden centre at the moment – or if you’d simply like the satisfaction of doing it all yourself – we’ve got some ways to use food scraps to get started.
We recommend giving it a go with potatoes, alliums (leeks, garlic and onions), carrots and herbs. For potatoes, you simply need a sprouting potato (the more eyes, the better!) which you should cut in half and then leave out overnight. Once it feels dry to the touch, plant it in soil with the fleshy side facing up.
For alliums, you just need a small piece of the vegetable with the roots attached which you can place in a shallow dish or jar of water. Keep it on the windowsill and change the water every day; within a week, it should have started to sprout new green sections.
Carrots are really simple. Just take the top of a carrot (the bit where the leaves will have grown) and pop it in a container of water. New greens will begin to grow in a few days. You can either harvest and eat these as you go, or you can wait for the carrot to develop roots and then plant into soil for a fully-grown crop.
Finally, a wide range of herbs can be re-grown with scraps. Simply place the stem of your herb of choice into a glass of water, keeping the leaves above the water level. Keep this glass on the windowsill and change the water every other day. Roots will quickly begin to grow and this plant can then be planted into a larger container or straight into your garden.
We hope we’ve inspired you to give growing your own veg a go. It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive and it’s a great way to reduce waste and do your bit for the environment. It’s also great for our pollinators too. While we traditionally picture pollinators in a beautiful flower, all plants require some pollination which means your crops will be feeding both you and the insects. Plus, as Tara said, growing something from scratch gives you an incredible sense of achievement which is great for mental wellness.