Home grown produce is by far the best you can eat. Whether grown by you or a friend, relative or neighbour, there is nothing quite like it.
Producing your own food keeps you grounded and connected to the earth. It helps you appreciate that we even have food to eat at all once it dawns on you that with the best will in the world it would take a mammoth effort and a heck of a lot of land to produce enough for one person for a year. These days we don't even want to wash our own vegetables, never mind get down and dirty in the soil to grow them.
It is a sad state of affairs that now so many people regard food as a second class commodity. We don't mind paying hundreds for a phone, thousands for a holiday and tens of thousands for a car. The stuff that keeps us alive however, we expect to get for pennies. It all seems back to front.
However, if you get down on your knees in the mud, get your hands dirty, break your back weeding and digging, then watch in despair as all the weeds come up again and choke your precious seedlings, you soon begin to realise how important food is and how difficult and expensive it can be to produce it.
It's not just the cost of the equipment and materials that you need in order to grow vegetables such as seeds and tools. Take your time into account. If you paid yourself a fair wage then that cabbage you grew which is the wrong shape, the size of a golf ball and half eaten by caterpillars has cost you 10 times as much as the one you buy in the supermarket, and that's without the middle men.
However, don't let all this put you off and don't take too much notice of my horror stories, because after a year or so your veg will get better once you know what you're doing. Growing your own need not be difficult if you choose the right vegetables for your local area or even part of the world. Ask local growers which are the easiest and the most pest free.
For me in the North West of England, that would be green beans, potatoes and onions. Lettuce and radish can go in odd spaces here and there are not too difficult. Also currant bushes, apple trees and rhubarb. Cabbage and other brassicas, are a lot easier to grow if you construct a frame and drape a net over it to keep the cabbage white butterflies off. As for pesky slugs, these days there are very effective slug killing agents that are approved for organic gardening.
Growing your own is also not just about the end product Whether or not your gardening is successful is only half the story, apparently gardening in and of itself is officially good for your health
Your home grown food is tastier too. Not many people can boast that the potatoes they are eating were only dug up an hour ago or that their egg was freshly laid that morning. If you are not careful you will become smug because of course all of us need to eat but you above everyone really feel you deserve it because you damn well produced it out of blood sweat and tears, and boy does that alone have a remarkable effect on the taste and enjoyment of it and your sense of well being.
Also as I hinted above, home grown is not necessarily just about vegetables. Any back yard would be big enough for chickens and some people even keeps ducks (messy things though) It's not difficult and they make wonderful friendly pets.
Although a lot of my vegetables are home grown and I also keep chickens, to be honest there is not a great deal of advice I can sensibly give because it all depends on where in the world you are and what facilities you have.
What I can give you is encouragement.
There must be a million and one books out there on fruit and vegetable growing. However too much information can often tie you in knots. the best thing you could possibly do is go to the seed section at a garden centre, or even the local supermarket these days sell seeds. Read the labels which should give you an indication of when, where and how to sow them. Decide on just a few to start off with. Then just get out there and do it and learn from your mistakes.
A good indication of how easy a vegetable is to grow is often the price of the seeds. The cheaper they are, the easier they are.
Here in the UK you can't really go wrong with beans, onion sets, potatoes, tomatoes and lettuce.
We would all like to hear about your own favourites for your vegetable plot. Please use the form below and don't forget to tell us where in the world you live
To avoid home grown gluts, especially if you are growing for just a few people, do not sow all your seeds at once. for instance with radishes, I will sow just a short line, or drill as it is called, about once a month, and lettuce I will sow a tiny pinch in a pot about every 2 weeks and transplant them.
"Cut and come again" leaves are great fun because you cut them off with scissor when they have grown, and then they will grow again.
Leave the roots of your cabbages in the ground when you cut off the head and you can have fresh greens in the early spring when the leaves start to grow again. The same can be done with brussels sprouts and broccoli (see photo below)
Don't be scared of getting it wrong, just have fun and enjoy the outdoors and exercise and let us all know below how you get on
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Please remember that the author of this website is not a professional. All statements are opinions and not to be taken as advice.
"Don't believe everything you read on the internet" Abraham Lincoln
Much of the information on this website is either "googled" or out of the author's head and therefore not to be taken as advice.
It's all about food and food for thought, so trust your gut instinct and get some professional advice on diet if you think you need it
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