By: Blonde Two
Growing your own vegetables is one way most of us can still Get Outside even if we are spending time in self isolation. You don’t need a big garden or a greenhouse, you can grow at least some vegetables in most places as long as they have some light and enough water. So, if you have a patio, a balcony, a flat roof or even a sunny windowsill, how about starting your own mini (or bigger) veggie garden. Even if you can’t get to the shops, everything you need can be bought online, and seed-watching is far more fun than news-watching (especially at the moment).
Vegetable garden well-being
There are lots of reasons why gardening and growing your own vegetables is good for you, and most of these are nothing whatsoever to do with delicious meals after all the hard work (although this can be an added bonus). Here are just a few:
- GYO gets you outside (or at least in the sunshine next to your windowsill)
- Doing (as long as you are doing it safely) is always better than worrying
- Growing anything is a hopeful activity, growing food even more so
- You will be more likely to try new foods if you have grown them yourself
- Growing your own food helps you to understand our food supply chains better
- A vegetable patch (not matter how small) can give a family a sense of purpose
What you need for growing vegetables
Unlike children or dogs, vegetables are quite simple creatures. They need a home (pots, grow bags, old mushroom tubs etc), compost (check the shed for an old bag), light (balconies, windowsills, patios etc) and water (I recommend a small watering can). Growing from seed is the most rewarding and seed companies are really good at giving instructions on how the sow them (make sure you read the packet). Have a look around your house and see what you can find before you start your online shopping. For example seeds grow well in cardboard toilet paper inners, the bottom of milk cartons make great plant pots and you can collect seed from the some of the vegetables in your fridge (e.g. peppers, tomatoes, chillies, cucumbers). You can even turn empty compost bags inside out and grow veggies in those.
Quick growing vegetables
When you have invested your time and effort into sowing your seeds, it can be really encouraging to see some quick results. There are some vegetables that germinate and mature more quickly than others, and it is these quick-growing examples that will keep you and your family interested (last year Six-Foot-Blonde grew far better spring onions on his lounge windowsill than I did in my garden). Here’s a list to get you started.
- Radishes (you can make a pesto with the leaves if you get plenty)
- Spring onions (I really love the elegant red ones)
- Salad leaves (if you cut these instead of pulling them, you will get multiple crops)
- Chard (rainbow chard is so pretty and will encourage the family to eat their greens)
- Carrots (pick early for baby ones and add a few tops to salads)
- Bok Choy (great in stir fries but be vigilant, the slugs love these)
Vegetable gardening advice
I could give you lots of advice about growing your own vegetables but perhaps the very best thing about this most excellent hobby is that you get to learn as you go along. One thing I would say is that (like royalty) I find talking to my plants makes me look after them better. My vegetable garden is helping to relieve some of my current worries so hopefully having a go at it will do the same for you, and who knows, you might end up with some delicious dinners as a result.