Growing your own fruit and veg is a great way to live more sustainably.
It reduces food miles – the average food product travels over 1,500 miles before it is eaten but produce grown at the bottom of your garden will have ventured no distance at all.
It reduces waste – only 1/3 of the UK’s plastic food packaging is recycled but anything that you grow yourself will be entirely zero waste so you won’t need to worry about your plastic footprint anymore.
It supports local wildlife – growing your own produce organically will support local biodiversity by encouraging insects, bees and butterflies to visit your garden and pollinate your plants.
Last year some friends bought me an Edgy Veggies Gift Seed Kit which comes with 6 different seed varieties for home grown vegetables.
Each of them is a quirky take on the conventional so think Purple Haze Carrots, Turkish Turban Squash, Colourful Beetroots, Chocolate Sweet Pepper, Multi-Coloured Swiss Chards & Tigrella Tomatoes!
Photographed here are the tomatoes, carrots, beetroots and swiss chards which I picked last September, together with some green beans and sweet peas from our little vegetable patch.
I especially loved growing the multi-coloured Swiss chards which surprised us all with their bright green, pink and red stems. P.S. don’t judge the little garden boots that are actually very practical and comfy!
And look at all the tomatoes we harvested – with so many leftover and not enough mouths to eat them quickly enough, my mum made a delicious chilli jam once they had softened – no food waste here!
My top tips for growing your own produce as sustainably as possible are:
Start a compost heap – compost your household waste such as vegetable cuttings.
Conserve water – fit a water butt to collect rainwater and reuse it when watering your plants.
Avoid chemicals – do not use toxic fertilisers and pesticides that can pollute and harm soil life.
Minimise single use plastic – use biodegradable alternatives such as wooden labels and seed trays.
But the most important thing to remember is to just have a bit of fun! Not everything will turn out as you expect or as it appears in the supermarkets but that’s part of the enjoyment that comes with growing your own.
These carrots for example are a lot less boring than any shop-bought variety I’ve ever seen!
Tomorrow I’ll be out in the garden to plant this year’s varieties – I’m thinking butternut squash, pumpkins, tomatoes, carrots, peas and maybe even some sweetcorn.
Who knows – with this lockdown in place for the foreseeable future perhaps we’ll see a bigger uptake in people growing their own produce this year. I sure hope so!