April 8, 2016

New to food growing?

Growing your own is easier than you think. The Grow Food 4 Life Project has put together brief advice on how to get started.

What gardening equipment do I need?

Some investment into gardening tools is required but it doesn’t have to be expensive. You can pick up relatively cheap tools from pound shops, independent hardware shops and general homeware shops. Here is a list of basic gardening tools to help you get started:

  • Spade
  • Hand trowel
  • Hand fork
  • Watering can
  • Gardening gloves
  • A variety of pots and containers
  • Compost
  • Canes and netting

These items are useful but not essential: wellies, kneeling pad (to protect those knees!), a hoe and rake (for larger spaces to help remove weeds and raking up dead leaves or breaking up compacted soil), pruners, shearers and a wheelbarrow. A water butt is useful for collecting rain water to help with watering over the summer months.

Other freebies or low cost ideas…

  • Most DIY shops and supermarkets sell packets of seeds for less than £1.
  • Pick up used pots from garden centres or contact your local community garden for spare or used containers.
  • Re-use plastic food packaging such as mushroom containers. Also egg boxes and empty toilet rolls make great growing containers for seeds.
  • Use recycled materials such as old wellies to grow strawberries, tyres for plants – perfect for growing potatoes, wooden boxes for salads and metal buckets for herbs. Basically any container wide and deep enough for a growing plant and with drainage.
  • Pick up some old timber planks from a building yard for building raised beds.

 

What can I grow?

You don’t need an allotment or large garden to start growing your own food, just some careful planning to make good use of the space that you do have, whether big or small. If you don’t have a garden, you can use growing bags, pots, window boxes, hanging baskets or a mixture of growing mediums.

Here is a top ten list of tasty crops for the first time grower:

  1. Broad beans
  2. Peas
  3. Carrots
  4. Potatoes
  5. Courgettes
  6. Tomatoes
  7. Salad leaves
  8. Onions and garlic
  9. Herbs
  10. Strawberries

Want to learn how to grow your own? Get started with our free training sessions

Dudley Council’s Grow Food 4 Life Project offers people living and working in Dudley borough FREE sessions on how to grow your own fruit, vegetables and herbs. Sessions will cover sowing seeds and plants, testing soil quality, managing pests and diseases, getting the best out of a small growing space, how to grow using containers and lots more.

Sessions include cooking the produce that you have grown, from smoothies to salads and stir fries, to homemade meals such as pizza and veggie curries. Seeds and equipment are provided.

Contact Jenny Cadman

jennycadman@bcnet.org.uk

07702820175

There are sessions available for adults only or bring your children to our family sessions.

Benefits of growing your own

Enjoy the many benefits of gardening and growing your own produce.

Eat fruit, vegetables and herbs direct from your doorstep. Some people find that it stretches the food budget further, or it’s a different approach to getting your daily intake of fruit and vegetables and some just enjoy the chance to get outdoors and increase their physical activity.

Gardening has also been shown to relieve stress and improve overall health and wellbeing.  It also creates less waste so it’s better for the environment too.