Here are a few ideas for those of you wanting to grow food and learn more about growing food not lawns.
- Start small with pots on a windowsill - not too hot that the pot dries out though! Keep an eye on the moisture level.
- Deck - you'll need pots but you can use/reuse so many things!
- Sunny spot in front or back yard (yes even if you rent! Check with your landlord - you may have to agree to returning it to lawn before you leave)
- A neighbour’s sunny yard.
- Volunteer at a local farm (nudge nudge) or at your neighbour's with a garden - learn valuable skills and take home some veg.
- Become a Timebank member - the above plus earn Timebank hours.
- Grow food in existing gardens - have a rose garden? Plant spinach and spring onions underneath. Have a sheltered spot at the edge of some trees? If it gets 6 hours or more of sun in summer, grow a few pumpkins or courgettes! You don’t have to set up dedicated annual beds, pop some seedlings or seeds in any gaps and have more food for minimal effort!
Remember to grow what you like to eat! Or at least what you’re willing to try. Whichever route you go, think about how much time you have to work on it, will you actually go there/do it? Also consider will the plants have time to reach maturity where you’re planting them, what it says on a seed packet is the best case scenario for time to harvest, there’s a lot of people questioning their broccoli and caulis not producing now but it’s June: cold and low sunshine hours, growth slows and these things take months and months anyway! If you have some you’re impatiently waiting for (I know it takes ages and I’m still impatient lol) give them time, and remember, harvest the head of a brassica leaving behind some side shoots below and these will grow into smaller heads of broccoli or cabbage, since they’ve been in the ground so long you want as much harvest as possible from them!
While a lot of people grow their own herbs and vegetables, there are many out there that don't have the space, experience or confidence. If you have knowledge or even just spare pots, perhaps think about how can you help others in your community. Eating locally benefits us all!
If you want to learn more or just get better at it for cheaper, join Timebank, attend a Crop Swap near you, sign up for the Sustainable Taranaki Newsletter to find out about events and workshops in the region. There are so many welcoming people at these places, I'd love to see you there!