How to Grow Your Own Fruit and Veg in Community
More and more young people are having a go at growing their own fruit and veg.
However, if you are a complete novice to the world of gardening and growing don’t worry, it’s easier than it looks. Here is what some young growers have to say:
Why grow your own fruit and veg?
Fruit and vegetables can grow both indoors or outdoors – so wherever you live you can enjoy the simple pleasures of Scotland’s nature. In fact, here at the Young Scot office in Edinburgh, we are growing our own indoor garden – we have a selection of herbs and even strawberry and chilli plants!
Plus, it is a good way for you to be aware of where the food you eat comes from, it can also save you money and by eating food grown on your doorstep, will reduce your carbon footprint too!
Take a look at ‘Eating Local, Eating Seasonal’ to find out the best fruit and vegetables to eat at different times of the year. From this you can also find out the best time to seed and harvest.
You can also take a look at Scottish Natural Heritage's Garden for Food for inspiration.
A four step guide to growing your own
Step 1 - Getting ready
First of all you need to be prepared with the tools for the job. But don't worry you can make most of them for free!
You will need:
- Plants/Seeds/Bulbs (Find out how to get them for free)
- Watering Can/Hose (You can make your own out a recycled plastic bottle)
- Containers (You can use many upcycled containers)
- Trowel/Shovel (You can make one out milk carton)
- Compost. (You can make your own but it will take a bit of time)
Step 2 - Where to grow
Choose your location!
If your garden is indoors, choose a nice bright spot for your fruit and vegetables – perhaps a sunny windowsill or worktop.
If you are growing your fruit and vegetables outdoors, you need to choose a spot which gets a good amount of sun – ideally 6 or more hours per day.
Step 3 - What to grow
Now choose what you want to grow. It is a good idea to think about what fruit and vegetables you like to eat – there would be no point in growing things you didn’t like the taste of! They will usually come as seeds, bulbs or fully grown plants.
The soil you choose is also important in the growing process and a good multi-purpose compost should work well for most fruit and vegetables. If you are gardening outdoors you may have to prepare your soil before you start, take a look at BBC How to be a Gardener.
If you are creating an indoor garden you will need containers. They come in lots of different sizes and materials but the key is to make sure your container is deep enough for the roots of the fruit and vegetables.
Step 4 - Planting
Now that you have everything you need, it’s time to grow some fruit and vegetables. Always follow the instructions on the seed/bulb packet but in general you should do the following:
- Prepare the soil – if you have an outdoor garden you should even out the soil, in an indoor garden fill your containers with soil/compost but make sure your containers have drainage holes!
- Plant the seeds – tuck them into the soil and cover them over with a bit more soil.
- Water – give them a good amount of water.
Your seeds and bulbs will need a lot of care to start with, especially if you have an indoor garden. Indoor plants ideally like to be watered every day and fertilised once per month. Also, try to make sure the water is draining properly as they tend not to like sitting in water.
Outdoor plants don’t need as much attention but if it is particularly dry outside then you may want to give them some water!
What if I don't have a garden?
If you don’t have access to a garden you could try and get an allotment, join a community garden, or ask a family or friend if you could use a spot in their garden. If none of those are an option for you then you can use window boxes to grow lettuces or herbs, or a plant pot to grow tomatoes.
Now let’s eat!
The best thing about growing your own fruit and vegetables is getting to eat them. Guaranteed they are so much tastier when they are home grown and fresh! You will have chosen vegetables that you like to eat and there are so many recipes available that you will never be lost for new ideas!