Wouldn’t it be great to avoid the weekly supermarket shopping nightmare from time to time? Think of all the petrol, cash and not least of all, the STRESS!
An added bonus of avoiding supermarket shopping is that you aren’t tempted to buy ‘two for the price of one’ family packs of chocolate, snacks and other bad-for-you-munchies!
So, putting aside all the negative stuff you don’t need anyway, let’s move on to the positive approach of growing groceries yourself …even if you live in an apartment, have never grown a plant before, or have a small family budget.
The very first thing you should decide is what you want to grow for your family. It’s possible to grow crops that can be harvested in all seasons of the year, not just the summer months. Do a little research. Generally in-season fruit and veg will be less expensive in the shops, but don’t let that put you off growing groceries yourself- especially if you’ve never tasted a home-grown tomato before. We’re going for quality here – in taste, freshness, vitamin and mineral content … oh, and lack of chemicals!
The Salad Bowl:
As well as delicious cherry tomatoes, crisp celery and sweet peppers, there are hundreds of varieties of lettuce you could grow. The ‘cut-and-come-again’ types are practical and tend to be easy to grow when you’re just starting out. Buy the right seed as some lettuces are specifically designed to crop in the winter months. Sow seed thinly as lettuce tends to germinate well.
Down To Roots:
Root veggies are traditionally grown in long lines in fairly deep soil. Although you do need a certain depth of soil, root crops can also be grown in containers. Even potatoes, although not strictly a ‘root’ but a ‘tuber’ can be grown in barrels, specially designed potato planters or even old car tyres on a patio. There are varieties of carrot seed that will produce shorter fatter roots but are ideal for container growing or in a garden with little depth of soil.
Grow peas and beans together in the same plot, but move them every year. Peas are wonderful plants, they grab nitrogen from the air and store it in their roots, so at the end of the season, digging in the roots will enrich the soil for next years crops. Dwarf broccoli and spinach can be successfully grown in containers, and don’t forget to plant some winter kale and Brussels sprouts!
It’s always a good move to grow some herbs. Aloe Vera is a great plant to keep on the kitchen windowsill as the sap will treat minor burns. While thyme will not only flavour a Sunday roast, it can also help prevent and treat colds. Many herbs have medicinal properties, and they will also earn you loads of Brownie points when you add them to an everyday meal and turn it into a cordon bleu feast!
Fruits are easier to grow than supermarket prices would have us believe! Lemon and even orange trees are a popular addition to homes in less-than-tropical climates. Apples and pears can be trained to grow along a fence rather than taking up the whole garden and smaller plants such as raspberries, strawberries and gooseberries have been grown in the home garden for centuries.
All in all, there isn’t really much we CAN’T grow, you can even grow your own potato chips! – growing groceries can reduce your supermarket shop to once a month for provisions. You save time, money and stress. And you gain health, wealth and feeling good. Perfect!
The above text was taken from ‘Grow It, Cook It!’ (Details on this page Growing Books )
P.S. Just for a laugh, how about growing a cheese sandwich?!