It’s Veganuary and many of us are switching to plant-based diets for health benefits and helping the climate. At Seed Pantry we always encouraged our green-fingered fans to plant and grow their own vegetables, salads and herbs and #Veganuary is a month we fully support!
As well as being cost-effective and environmentally friendly, growing your own food; vegetables, salads and herbs means you can eat completely organic produce freshly picked by you with the best flavours and nutritional value. Growing your own food locally means no high-carbon transport miles which is far better for the planet. Tending plants is so rewarding and connecting with nature is proven to lower stress levels and improve overall well-being! So what’s not to love!?
With this all in mind, we have put together a quick guide to help those who want to start off their own journey of growing food! It can be daunting and confusing at first, so make certain to follow this guide to get yourself ahead.
What’s the best thing to start with?
There are lots of great places to start on your growing adventure. One of the easiest food crops to start with is growing your own micro-greens and herbs. These a great easy way to dip your toes into the world of growing your own food. Try growing spicy radish shoots, you grow them for a 5-7 days in a tray with a little compost (1cm deep) – seeds are scattered liberally and bobs your uncle! Cut them and eat as you need on a sandwich or in side salads. Both micro-greens and herbs can be grown indoors on your window sills and with minimal space and equipment. We have loads of great food and flower options on the Seed Pantry website.
From there we would recommend trying fast-growing leafy greens like rocket, lettuce, pak choi, mustard leaves and small single plant crops such as cherry tomatoes, chillies, both grown in pots indoors. They will require a little more attention than micro-greens and herbs but still remains light work. However, the more work, the more satisfying the crop! We have a whole range of tomatoes and chillies in the Grow Club this month (Jan 2020) so come and have a look!
Where and when do I plant and grow?
One of the biggest struggles new growers find is that it is hard to choose what to grow and when. A common mistake with new growers is the belief that they can start growing what they like when they like. With some plants, this may work, however, most plants benefit from being planted at the right time to develop through their desired seasons.
We have put together a very useful Urban Veggie Table with all you need to know about when to sow, plant and harvest various types of fruits and vegetables. With this, you will be able to work out what you can plant around that given time of year and where to grow it.
When choosing what veg to grow, the amount of space you have to grow will have an impact on what choices you should make, so make sure to check how big plants can grow that you wish to grow first.
What do I need?
All you really need to start growing is some seeds, compost and a small space in the ground or pots and containers, for indoors or outdoors, to start food growing, but there are also a few other bits you could use to make your life easier! Propagators are great for starting off your seeds and getting them going in a protected environment, as quick as possible, particularly for warmer climate crops like chillies. They will help develop seedlings before planting them in bigger pots or veg patches.
Another amazing and smart piece of technology you could use to help grow food is a hydroponic planter. This device helps develop and grow plants as easily as possible by providing the light and water your plants need continually so that you don’t have too! You can see the Seed Pantry Grow Pod 2 here and we think it is rather brilliant!
How do I keep my plants going?
Caring for your plants is one of the most rewarding parts, so make sure your plants have everything they need to survive. Take note of how much water and sun each plant will need and provide it’s desired amount as it grows. Some plants need potting on to bigger pots/containers or planting seedlings out in veg patches once they’re big enough and some may need a little maintenance along the way, such as pruning or clipping to keep them tidy and focused on growing your food crops, but most should be happy as long as they get the water and sunlight they need! Look out for slugs and other creatures who may want a nibble also!
One last thing that you will probably need is…patience! Unfortunately, plants do not grow to full size overnight and need a little time to develop and grow. Give your plants the time they need and some love and you will have amazing crops in no time! Watching nature is truly one of life’s most rewarding things!
We’re here to help you get started…
At Seed Pantry we are encouraging everyone to grow some of their own food plants and flowers, as its fun, educational and tasty too! We provide the seeds, bulbs, equipment and expertise you’ll need to grow food at home!
Our experts are also available to help you every step of the way within our online community, via social channels and more – visit www.seedpantry.co.uk
For more information on Veganuary, their website is here: https://uk.veganuary.com/