With the threat of climate change looming, we’re becoming more aware of the need to change our habits and live more sustainable lifestyles. There are so many things we do in our daily lives that impact the environment, so it’s natural to feel overwhelmed about where to start.
A simple step you can take to live more sustainably is growing your own vegetables. From root vegetables to salad leaves, there’s a plant you can grow no matter the season.
It may sound like a daunting prospect at first, but once you learn the tricks of the trade, you’ll wonder why you ever bought carrots and potatoes from the supermarket. Let’s explore how you can grow vegetables at home and contribute to a sustainable way of living.By choosing to grow your own food you can eat really fresh food and help the planet. See how! Click To Tweet
GROWING YOUR OWN FOOD: BEGINNERS GUIDE
Invest in the right tools for planting vegetables
Plants that are directly sown from the seed will require “thinning,” which is the removal of excess seedlings. Tall or climbing plants will need staking or trellising to ensure they grow in the right direction. On top of this, some vegetables such as tomatoes will need to be pruned to ensure they stay healthy.
If you’re new to gardening, you’ll need to buy various tools to carry out this maintenance. For example, tools like trowels, a rake, a hose, as well as products to keep your crops healthy, like fertilizer.
The cost of this can quickly add up, so ensure you consider your finances before making any expensive purchases. You don’t need to buy sought-after name brands to start with, as many budget alternatives do just as well a job for a far lower price.
Start with the low-cost option for tools and gradually expand your collection to include niche or higher-cost tools as your garden and experience grow.
Choose the perfect spot to grow your own food
It’s crucial to find a good patch of soil to plant your vegetable seeds. This will give them the best chance of growing to a suitable size for cooking. Most vegetables need a spot that's sunny yet sheltered to flourish in, although some lettuce varieties and certain herbs are exceptions to this rule, as they do better in part sun.
Finding this middle ground can be difficult, but if you’re limited to a smaller space, choose the sunny spot and try building a makeshift shade cover from wood and fabric or garden meshing for those veggies that like it a little cooler. Better yet consider hydroponic gardening and get rid of guesswork altogether.
Prepare your patch
Before planting any seeds, make sure you prepare the soil by digging out any weeds and adding compost to ensure the soil is healthy. Once this is complete, get a rake and level it out, so the patch is nice and even.
Be mindful not to grow your plants too close together. Make sure they have plenty of room to thrive without disturbing the other plants around them. The back of the seed packets will have spacing suggestions to help with this.
Start out small and simple
If it’s your first time growing your own vegetables, choose the easiest ones to grow and require the least maintenance. Crops such as courgettes, beans, beetroot, rocket, radish, chilies, and potatoes are ideal for starting off.
Don’t overwhelm yourself by growing too many plants at once. The more you have, the more maintenance you’ll have to do, and if you go overboard, it can be easy to feel burnt out before your crops even begin to surface.
Maintain your vegetable plot
Once your seeds are planted, ensure you follow the instructions for watering and maintenance. Keep an eye on the weather and adjust your efforts accordingly. For example, after heavy rainfall, you may need to skip a day or two of watering to avoid excessive water disturbing the plants’ growth. However, during scorching weather, you’ll need to water your plot more frequently.
Keeping your veggies safe from pests can feel like a full-time job, and not all pesticides are food or animal-friendly. Try making natural pest repellent from baking soda, dish soap, and water to spray around your patch to avoid losing your hard work to insects.