When we think about growing food the images that come to mind are often fields full of vegetables, orchards full of fruit or allotments that are tucked away like secret societies, full of old men who have the magic of veg growing in their green fingers. The truth is there isn’t a secret to growing your own food, it just needs a little time and care and you don’t need acres of land to be able to grow your own.
There are so many advantages to growing your own fruit and veg: the satisfaction of sitting down to a meal knowing that it was provided from your own garden; knowing you are teaching your children the basics of where food comes from and the lesson that everything is sustainable – food waste makes compost which feeds plants which makes more food for us.
If you want to grow vegetables with your children then think about those that are easy to sow and grow and will be quick to grow. For the best vegetables to grow are those that:
- Are easy to sow, especially those with large seeds like courgettes.
- Germinate quickly, to keep those short attention spans occupied.
- You can sow in situ, so you do not have the trouble of transplanting.
- Produce a crop quickly.
- Require minimum maintenance other than watering and feeding.
- Will continue cropping.
Grow food that you know your children already like or food you have a good chance of persuading them to munch. Vegetables that you can eat straight from the plant like tomatoes are always a hit with kids. Harvesting food is one of the best things about growing your own.
Test the theory that one way for children to eat vegetables is to get them to help grow their own. If you plant vegetables they already like then you are on to a winner.
Don’t worry if you don’t have huge amounts of space – crates and even a window box can supply you with salad through summer. Many vegetables can be grown in pots on a patio or interspersed with the flowers in your borders, potatoes can even be grown in bags or in the middle of a stack of tyres! It’s all about making fresh, flavoursome, home-grown fruit and vegetables accessible to everyone, no matter what your gardening experience or how tiny space you have.
Start by thinking about what you eat this summer and what costs the most money to buy. New potatoes are delicious and they can be costly but for just a few pounds you can plant your own and they taste much better straight out of the ground! Unless you stick to the basic lettuce, salad can be expensive but again for the price of just three/four bags of mixed salad you can plant your own and enjoy it throughout summer. And best of all, if you grow organically, you can eat safely without paying over the odds. Think about your favourite meals and talk to your children about what you could plant, grow and eat.