A brilliant way of living more sustainably and helping to reduce your impact on the planet is to grow your own food – which may actually be a lot easier than you might at first think.

The sense of achievement you’ll get when you plant your seeds, nurture them, watch them grow and then be able to pick the fruits of your labour (quite literally!) will keep you growing your own for years to come… and think about all the money you’ll save on fruit and veg if you do start producing your own food instead of going to the supermarket each week.

Growing your own also means you won’t have nearly as much single-use plastic packaging to contend with and send to the recycling centre every week, so it really is a win-win situation for all.

Check out the RHS website for all sorts of information and handy hints for growing your own food. It can be hard to know where to begin but this is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to give it a go this year. And just because we’re going into winter doesn’t mean that you can’t start with this endeavour right here and now. At the very least, you can sit down and start doing some research so that you’re ready for when spring arrives.

You could start planting yourself some new strawberry beds right now so that you have lovely plump little berries in the summer, for example. Apparently, these are very versatile berries and only need sun, shelter and well-drained fertile soil to survive and thrive, although avoid planting them in places prone to frost. You could even try growing them in containers or growing bags.

If you’d prefer to try growing your own herbs, what about giving basil a go? Sow your seeds indoors between late February and mid-summer, filling a 3” pot with seed compost, sowing a couple of seeds over the top. Only sow a few more seeds than required since the majority will germinate. Then cover with a layer of vermiculite, give it a sprinkling of water and then place in your propagator. You could also use a freezer bag and secure it over the top with an elastic band.

Once germinated, take the bag off or take the basil out of the propagator and keep the pot damp. When the seedlings are big enough to be handled and their first true leaves appear, repot them in their own 3” pot in some multipurpose compost.

Edible flowers could also be lots of fun to grow. Check out this article on the Country Living website where The Gourmet Gardener Amy Mackenzie-Mason explains how these can be grown and then enjoyed in the kitchen. What fun!

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