Written by: Anne Marie Fogarty, RGN
Growing Your Own
Growing your produce at home can be satisfying, cost-effective and healthy. It might be challenging to understand where to start. So, if you are new to gardening, read on and let us help you to find joy in the great outdoors!
Learn how to produce your own vegetables and fruits and learn the many benefits for your health and well-being that gardening can have.
To begin with, list down your favourite fruits, vegetables, and herbs, then mark out those less likely to grow in the UK. (Choose a protected, sunny location for growing vegetables. Level the soil after removing weeds and adding well-rotted compost or manure. If you have a small garden, you may cultivate salad greens in window boxes, containers, or growing bags. Never grow plants too close together, and if necessary, poke them out; always follow the spacing instructions on the seed packaging.
Home gardens offer a unique means of providing nutritious, delicious food for home cooks. Not only does growing your own vegetables add flavour and nutrition to your meals, but it can also provide important environmental benefits. Growing your own produce can reduce food miles, reducing the carbon footprint of meals, which supports the fight against climate change. It can also reduce the amount of plastic and other packaging associated with supermarket produce, bringing additional environmental benefits.
Growing your own to support your mental health
Large numbers of both children and adults alike suffer from various mental health issues. The lockdowns, no doubt, have added to this number.
Anxiety and depression are increasing, and there is now, perhaps, more than ever, a strong need for support in mental health. One way to support our mental wellness and health and get outside is through the art of growing your own.
Connecting with nature through gardening and enjoying the outdoors has many health and well-being benefits for people. Let’s take a look.
What are the benefits of gardening?
Growing your own has many advantages to your mental health, including improving confidence, concentration, communication, and self-worth.
Gardening improves your overall health and can, in fact, prevent many health issues, such as depression, loneliness, anxiety, obesity, cardiovascular disease and many more.
Gardening is a great form of exercise and allows you to enjoy being out in the fresh air and connecting with nature and others.
Connecting with nature is an empowering way to relax, de-stress and unwind.
Easy to start veg!
Within a few weeks of direct sowing in shallow soil drills, beetroots are ready to be harvested. Beetroot is a popular and dependable variety. Its resistance to bolting (running to seed) makes it an excellent option for beginning gardeners. It produces medium-sized, smooth-skinned roots with dark red flesh.
Salad leaves such as rocket and oak-leaf lettuce may be seeded in containers and collected on a cut-and-come-again basis, so the plants only need a little care. You may purchase various salad leaves to plant together for a colourful salad.
Bush tomato types are more straightforward to cultivate than cordon varieties since they do not need support, and their side shoots do not need to be pinched. Tomato bushes thrive in hanging baskets or containers both inside and outdoors.
Potatoes are simple to cultivate; plant them in the ground or an old compost bag, cover the newly emerging leaves with dirt and harvest them a few weeks later. Early potatoes (seeded in early April) may be harvested in July before the possibility of potato blight develops due to hot, humid conditions. ‘Red Duke of York’ is a gorgeous, red-skinned cultivar, but ‘Anya’ boasts long, nutty-flavoured tubers.
A few courgette plants are known for providing a big harvest. For optimal results, cultivate courgettes in rich soil and harvest them when they are no longer than 10 centimetres long.
Check out our vast range of healthy eating charts and models to display, train and learn about wellness in nature, mental health, nutrition, and healthy lifestyle.
Gardening provides many benefits to individuals and society alike, making it a worthwhile activity to pursue.
Overall, gardening is an excellent way to improve physical, mental and social health.