Growing my own food has been a massive step towards reducing any food packaging waste.
Before May of this year, I'd never grown anything more impressive than some cress in a broken egg shell! After a couple of months of experimenting, I now have a lovely patio garden with about 14 different crops.
A lot of my family are green-fingered, so I was lucky enough to get advice from some, seeds from others and even some cuttings.
I was apprehensive to begin with about the watering and harvesting times so downloaded a free app to help me plan the garden. I rely on this less so much now, but recommend it if you think some watering reminders might be useful!
Here are the plants I've grown this year...
Rocket, lettuce and spinach are super easy, with very minimum attention needed. They sprout within a week and you can eat the leaves within 30 days. Grow them close together for a 'micro garden' (they charge loads for that in shops!) or thin them out to allow the crop to fully mature. I snip the leaves as and when I need them as they're a 'cut and come again' kind of plant.
I've stuck to my roots (gardening pun fully intended) and grown some Indian cress. It produces the most beautiful flowers and the leaves and stalks are also edible.
My lovely grandpa started off some tomato seedlings for me. And whilst they're not difficult growers per se, they do require a little more attention because of their water consumption and the trimming they need. My tomatoes haven't ripened yet, but based on the buds, I reckon there will be near 50! (See a picture of my lovely and cheap greenhouse below).
Peas and beans
My aunty split a packet of beans with me, and this year, as a test, I grew peas, mangetout and runner beans. All have given me crop so I will plant more seeds next year!
The basic starter kit...
A watering can
Second hand is ideal, but I couldn't find one whilst scouring the charity shops, so opted for a galvanised metal one.
A sunny spot
This could just be a windowsill, balcony or even acres of land – work with what you have. I caved in and got a pop-up greenhouse, which is fantastic, but not a necessity.
Seeds or trimmings
I managed to collect seeds and trimmings from quite a few people. I popped to the local garden centre for all the rest.
It's no secret that growing your own fruit and veg is more time consuming than shopping for it. However, I only spend a maximum of 10 minutes each evening on watering and weeding, picking a small amount of crop each night too. A bit of salad for dinner or a few strawberries for pudding is a rewarding treat after a day at work.
Still not convinced?
Try growing veg from kitchen scraps
Right at the beginning of my gardening journey, I trimmed some spring onions I purchased from the market about 2 inches from the root and regrew these scraps by putting them in a glass on a sunny window sill. I've not had to buy new spring onions all summer.
Or try sprouting beans
Edible and dried beans, lentils and seeds can all be sprouted using special sprouting jars. Rather than buy the jar, I opted to use an old clean jar. The jar of beans was full to the brim with cold water and changed daily. The beans sprouted within a week and a half and were a yummy extra for a salad!
A new hobby – it seems strange to admit in my twenties, but I really enjoy pottering about in the garden
Learning loads – propagating, plant care and how to create more food out of scraps
Producing actual food – I know this seems silly, as obviously plants grown with light and water, but I didn't think that it would be this simple to produce waste-free food!