Now’s The Time To Grow Your Own

I love growing my own food.Home grown capsicums

It makes me feel like I’m doing something worthwhile to reduce my footprint on the environment.

Growing food where I eat it reduces my ‘food miles’ to zero…which makes me feel virtuous. 😉

And I get to control the amount of chemicals in my food and the environment.  (Zero, naturally!)

I also like the way it helps to lower my food costs.

It’s a really weird experience to go to the markets and see gorgeous produce at really low prices and…just when you’re about to buy up big…remember that you don’t need any of that because you have plenty at home.  It took me a while to get used to it…but now I consciously think about what I have in my garden before I go shopping.

Very liberating.

And I find gardening therapeutic. (I guess that’s why it’s used as therapy… ;))

So…now that we are in a prime planting season (early autumn in the southern hemisphere, early spring in the northern hemisphere)…how do you go about growing your own food?

I have gathered lots of knowledge over the years but, like all gardeners, there’s always more to learn.

One books I find really useful for advice on growing vegetables from start is Linda Woodrow’s The Permaculture Home Garden.  As well as setting out how to set up your garden so that so that it requires little of your energy, she explains how to make your own seed-raising mix so you can raise your own seedlings.

I do not (yet) have easy access to plentiful (free) worm castings and river sand…

and often I find I am trying to sow seeds in a very short amount of time…

so…I usually just sow my seeds in potting mix Growing your own seedlingsor seedling mix in clean old seedling punnets.  The key with this, though, is to never let the mix dry out.  If you do, it becomes water repellent – not good for germinating seeds.

If you don’t have time to wait for seeds, you can just buy punnets of seedlings and plant them…which is how you end up with masses of seedling punnets. 😉

There are, however, 2 main disadvantages if you use commercially raised seedlings:

  1. you don’t have anywhere near the range available that you do with seeds
  2. your seedlings will probably suffer from transplant shock.

This is where growing your own seedlings along the lines described in The Permaculture Home Garden really comes into the fore.

In any case, I usually place a small fence around my seedlings like that described in The Permaculture Home Garden…and frequently other protection as well.

This coming weekend is an excellent time for planting leafy vegetables.  Late next week is good for planting if you’re after flowers, fruit or seeds.

To find out what to plant where you live, Gardenate is a good start.

And to get some more specific advice about growing your own food, look in Linda Woodrow’s The Permaculture Home Garden.

Till next time…be gentle to yourself and our world!