Organic September has been taking place throughout the month, and is a great time to celebrate organic produce. In many cases, organic food is fresher than non-organic food and contains fewer pesticides, making it better for the environment and for local wildlife. It’s true that organic foods can be pricier, but you can grow your own organic foods at home for an affordable, natural way to enjoy healthy fruit and vegetables. No matter where you live, from a big house to a small city apartment or student halls there are some great fruit and vegetables that can be grown in your home.
Why grow vegetables at home?
Growing your own vegetables is a great way to get many of your five-a-day. Not only can you be assured that your produce is truly organic, but you’ll have a stock of fruit and veg available that you won’t need to pop to the shops for. Growing your own fruit and vegetables is also affordable with little equipment needed; making it easy once you’ve started.
Vegetables and fruit to grow at home
Avocados can be very expensive to buy in stores, but are surprisingly easy to grow at home using the pit from inside an avocado. Simply rinse the pit and press a few toothpicks into the base of the pit and put in a glass of water, with the heaviest part at the bottom. Place the glass on a windowsill which gets plenty of sunlight – a small tree should develop within a few weeks. Remove this from the water and place into a plant pot and keep on the windowsill, feeding it small amounts of water frequently to develop some tasty avocados of your very own.
Herb gardens in apartments are becoming increasingly popular – they’re easy to grow and fresh herbs taste great compared to dried varieties. Set up some pots with some basil, rosemary, mint, parsley and other herb seeds and water them according to the instructions – then pick your herbs as and when you want them for a fresh addition to your cooking.
Spinach, romaine lettuce and other salad greens can be grown easily in your home – without the need to worry about waste and throwing away rotting bags of salad. Purchase some plants from a garden centre or supermarket and keep them on a windowsill where they can get plenty of light. Make sure the soil is kept moist and you’ll end up with some fresh, tasty salad leaves that will be far nicer in lunches and dinners.
If you can fashion some sort of window box, you can grow carrots as well as other types of root vegetables. A window box around 8 x 8 inches will do for half-sized carrots, whilst longer carrots require more space. Simply buy some seeds and plant according to the instructions, pulling them out by the root when they’re ready.
Kale is becoming increasingly popular, and the good news is that you can grow kale within your own home. Using packets of seeds you can buy at garden centres, plant them into damp soil, ensuring you use a generously sized pot. You’ll need to thin the seedlings out after a few weeks and make sure they get plenty of light. The results can be great, and an ideal way to get your intake of this leafy green.
Strawberries can be grown as houseplants, but they will need a lot of light and a lot of watering to ensure the best results. You can get strawberry seeds from existing strawberries, adding around 20-30 into soil which is kept moist, as well as keeping them in a warm place with plenty of sunlight. Soon the plant will be in full bloom and the fruit will begin to appear for you to pick off as you please.
Growing your own fruit and vegetables at home may not be as difficult as you think. In a lot of cases, all it requires is patience and perseverance. Make the most of unused spaces in the kitchen, on your balcony or even your bathroom windowsill and you’ll soon have some fresh, organic produce to use at home. Find out more about Organic September and the benefits of eating organic on the Soil Association’s website.