At a time where food is flying off the shelves, we've all realised just how much we rely on supermarkets to keep stocked up. As amazing as it is, it is nice to feel a least a little self sufficient sometimes. One way to help is to grow your own, and now is the perfect time of year to give it a try! My family and I had no experience but decided to give it a go at our local allotment. Somethings ended up pretty disastrous or got gobbled by bugs and wildlife but some went really well! This post goes over some easy stuff to grow from our experience that can make you proud of the food you eat, find a quarantine boredom fix and help out the planet all at once.
Doug at our allotment
Easy things to grow
You don't need a allotment to grow your own just a little bit of space put aside in your garden or even your kitchen and you can grow what you like depending on the space you have! Then if you really like it and fancy expanding get in touch with your local council and see if you have any allotments in your local area!
Onions are one of simplest to grow, all you have to do is buy an onion set which are commercially produced so are easy to source. You can use them in so many dishes so you'll definitely use them up. How to grow:
When to sow - March/April (time to get going) Sowing depth - around 2cm deep
Sowing distance - between 5 and10cm apart Care - don't water them to often or they will rot and weed around them regularly
Harvest - When the leaves turn yellow and collapse
Courgettes are great and you don't need much space either, as one plant grows them crazy quickly. We had 3 plants last year and we were over run with courgettes... I don't think I'm ever going to be ready to look at another courgette quiche. How to grow:
When to sow - April/May Sowing depth - Around 2.5cm
Sowing distance - 90cm apart Care - Don't plant them to early as they are pretty sensitive to frost, insects need to be able pollinate the flowers too so make sure they can get to them!
Harvest - June to October
Peas taste real good when they are home grown so I recommend giving these guys a try, but you only want to harvest them when you want to eat them as they taste best straight away. We grew peas last year for the first time but you need quite a few plants to get a good amount, we ended up with about 20 peas all in all... at least we know for this year!
When to sow - March
Sowing depth - 4 or 5cm deep
Sowing distance - Around 5cm apart
Care - Need a support to grow up so attach them to a stick of some kind and water them regularly
Harvest - June to October
Tomatoes are best grown indoors or in a greenhouse if you have one as they need the warmth, but they are pretty hassle free. Extra juicy and delicious if they are home grown! How to grow:
When to sow - February to April (can plant outside in May in June when its warm)
Sowing depth - Around 2cm
Sowing distance - 38 to 45 cm
Care - regular watering and feeding with fertiliser Harvest - July to October
Chillies like tomatoes need to be grown indoors or in a greenhouse because they don't like the cold much either. They are fun to grow and a great for adding some homegrown flavour to your meals. How to grow:
When to sow - February to April (can move outside when its warmer in May and June)
Sowing depth - 10cm pot, sow on top and cover with a fine layer of compost
Sowing distance - 38-45cm
Care - Water regularly, use fertiliser and make sure they are on a sunny windowsill
Harvest - July to October
Strawberries are delicious and great to grow. They tend to try and spread out so keep an eye on them and pick a big space. Other fruits like raspberries and blackberries are pretty self sufficient too but take up quite a lot of space so it depends on how much room you have spare, we had so many raspberries last year and picking them is surprisingly fun. How to grow:
When to sow - July to September is best but any time between March and September
Sowing depth - Just above the surface
Sowing distance - 45cm apart
Care - Water regularly, cover with netting to prevent birds from stealing them
Harvest - pick them when they look red and delicious
Fruit trees are a great way to make a change to your garden and can be bought from most garden stores as well as supermarkets and you get loads of different types. You can buy them in a variety of ages too; from babies to pretty much growing fruit so it's up to you! The tip for making sure the fruit on your trees are ready is if they come off easily.
Growing pumpkins is really fun as its great to watch them grow getting Cinderella and halloween vibes all at once. We all felt proud putting out our own pumpkins on halloween! How to grow:
When to sow - April or May, either sow indoors or go to your local garden centre in June when it can go outside
Sowing depth - 2.5cm
Sowing distance - 1-1.5m apart
Care - Pumpkins need lots of water and once the pumpkin starts to grow place on a stand e.g a blank of wood so it doesn't rot.
Harvest - September to October
ft. our first ever pumpkin👻
Herbs are easy to grow and can go pretty crazy too so keep an eye on them! They are great addition to the kitchen both decoratively and for your food. You can buy them in the supermarket and help them flourish or start from scratch. The link below goes through some of the best herbs and how to look after each:
We got a lot of enjoyment and good food out of our allotment last year. The produce we got inspired us to try out new recipes and experiment more with dishes. I recommend giving it a go and seeing if its your thing. Growing at home is great for the environment too as it diminishes the food milage of your food which helps to reduce your carbon footprint plus they don't come out the ground wrapped in plastic either.
While we are all quarantining, starting a veg patch can be a great pastime! Remember to keep busy and try new things, I just completed my first ever embroidery (as you can tell I am very proud) and it kept me occupied for hours on end. It fits in with the grow theme so you can see it here being modelled by Dobson. I recommend trying it out but if not here are some other ideas:
- facetime friends and family
- find new walks (only one a day though!)
- make a to do list - movie marathon (currently up to Thor 2 in - the Devereux household Marvel Marathon) - clean out your wardrobe - baking - self care e.g facemasks and manicures
As always thanks for reading,
P.S. Stay safe and stay inside 🌷