Growing your own delicious food can take the pleasures of a garden to a whole new level. A few carefully chosen plants will produce many, many meals for the whole family. Peas, beans and tomatoes are easy to grow – and so are herbs, which add new flavours and colours to the table.
We've gathered the best tips and tricks to help you become more self-sufficient...
1. Make your own compost
A compost bin is the easiest and cheapest way of disposing of garden waste; it will also produce the best possible soil conditioner. As well as plant material, you can also compost paper, cardboard, trimmings, raw vegetables and natural fibres, such as cotton and wool fabrics.
2. Grow your own herbs
Herbs are surprisingly easy to grow and they can completely transform the taste of your food. Most herbs can be grown from seeds in their own bed, pots or window boxes. They will respond well to being pruned and kept quite small and manageable. Regular picking will encourage new growth and deliver the best flavour.
3. Grow your own vegetables
Simple salads are a great place to start. These are fast-growing, attractive and colourful, and the flavour and texture of freshly picked leaves is uniquely tasty and healthy. Vegetables such as tomatoes, peas and beans mature more slowly than salads. A coldframe is useful for raising seedlings and for bringing plants on to fruiting. It will also protect young plants from late spring frosts. If you are short on space, try growing one of the smaller bean and pea varieties in a pot or container.
4. Grow your own edible flowers
Impress your dinner guests with flowers that you can eat. Many flowers can be eaten raw or cooked and will make an unusual, colourful garnish. For example, pot marigold is sweet and crunchy, while blue borage looks pretty when frozen in ice cubes and courgette flowers have a crisp texture and are delicious when deep-fried in batter or added to salads.
5. Install a rainwater collection system
Rainwater is an excellent choice to water your garden with, and by collecting your own, you can help with water drought in the summer, and it is also completely free and relatively easy and cheap.
6. Make your own homemade jams and jellies
Now you have your own garden bearing fruits, you can turn any leftovers into preservative-free, healthy and cheap jam, jellies and marmalade. They make excellent gifts for friends and family members, or you could sell them at a local farmers market.
Do you have any other tips for self-sufficient living? Let us know in the comments box below.
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Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.
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