Growing your own food is one of the best ways to achieve a healthier diet and a more cost effective budget. Some of the key health benefits of growing your own food include cutting out exposure to the preservatives and other additives used as part of processed food, as well as benefiting from seasonal produce. Food safety benefits can also be found in terms of being able to monitor your own crops, while long term savings can be made in terms of producing a consistent amount of varied produce. Some key areas to consider when growing your own food include:
1 – Understand Your Local Area
Before beginning to grow food, you will need to understand what can and cannot be successfully grown in your local area. Research the climate and particular seasonal changes, and make sure that enough rainfall is predicted for certain crops. While some of these problems can be solved by investing in a greenhouse, local environment will make a big difference to your growing plans.
2 – Understand What Crops You Can Use
It is worth exploring the kind of crops that you would like to grow, and when the best times of the year will be to grow them. Root vegetables are particularly strong for year round growing, while fruit may only manage limited periods of growth depending on climate.
3 – Try to Find Allotment Space
Allotment space can be hard to come by, but can be found if you are prepared to be patient. Once you have your own space, make sure that you visit it regularly, and discuss your plans with surrounding allotments owners.
4 – Develop a Cultivation Plan
You will need to be able to plant rows of vegetables without compromising parts of a space and garden. Always make sure that you have enough walking space between planting rows, and that you won’t be stepping on and damaging roots.
5 – Collaborate with Others
Growing your own food is much easier if you collaborate with others. Options might include investing in a shared allotment, or forming a cooperative to grow different kinds of food. Produce can then be shared amongst different people, while profits can be made and shared from the sale of food.
6 – Use Cheap Materials
You don’t need to spend a fortune on materials when growing food. Recycled materials like yoghurt pots, sticks and fences can be converted into growing pots and containers. In the same way, old tyres can be cleaned and adapted as deeper containers.
7 – Think about Smaller Options
Not everyone will have access to an allotment or a decent sized garden. If space is limited, think about using balconies or windowsills as a way of growing small amounts of produce. Again, collaborating with others can mean that you can share different types of produce.
8 – Make a Compost Bin
You can improve the speed of your food growth by creating a compost bin that will eventually act as a source of fertiliser. Having a compost bin the garden or in an allotment also means that you will be able to recycle food waste.
9 – Space and Decoration
An allotment or garden can be enhanced through the use of fruit trees and edible flowers. While edible flowers should always be checked before planting, fruit trees can be easily planted and maintained to produce fresh produce.
10 – Be Careful With Your Budget
While savings will eventually be created by growing your own food, it is important to focus on maintaining a sensible budget when you first begin purchasing equipment and seeds. Draw up a rough budget, and try to avoid spending significant amounts of money on new materials if you can recycle or share them with others.
- Image courtesy of Will Merydith
- Image courtesy of HA! Designs – Artbyheather
- Image courtesy of FloBen
These tips were brought to you by the East of England Co-operative, the largest independent retailer in East Anglia. Why not visit a co-op food store today.