Growing Your own Produce
When you grow something yourself you appreciate it in a different way, its a natural extension if you cook. There is nothing better when cooking to know that you have grown ingredients from seed to use in your dish. (And a great conversation point at the dinner table too!)
Some things, such as potatoes are really easy to grow and if you can think of a way to arrange pots so that they are near your back door, it makes it easier to quickly grab some!
Place things such as potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and herbs within easy reach, so you don’t have to trek far. Having them in handy pots means that when its raining and you want a handful of herbs, you don’t have to get soaked!
Ideas for easy things to grow to use in your kitchen. (Your very own cooks garden!)
- ‘Step-over’ apples are knee-high, dwarf trees that are grown as horizontal cordons and are ideal for smaller gardens.
- Small crops of potatoes can be grown in potato planters or large deep containers. Simply line the bottom of the container with potting compost and insert the seed potatoes with their eyes pointing upwards. Once the stems start growing, continue watering and adding compost to keep pace with the stems, until the container is full. Harvest the potatoes when the leaves from the plant start to yellow.
- Chilli peppers are easy to grow; some varieties will produce up to 80 fruits per plant, which can be used fresh, pickled, frozen or even dried and strung together to hang in the kitchen.
- Cut-and-come-again salad leaves are available in mixed seed packets, with many ready for eating in less than four weeks. Plant in small quantities, at fortnightly intervals, for a steady supply.
Place your containers near a water butt that collects rainwater to make watering your crops easier! Container grown plants dry out more quickly than those in the ground to grow veg in as large a container as possible.
Soil is key. Healthy soil means happy plants – it needs to be as full of nutrients as compost to help retain moisture and to be able to produce the best crops.
Growing your own produce inside the house.
If you’re keen on the idea of growing your own produce but don’t fancy venturing too far into the garden or even if you don’t have a garden. You can easily utilise a balcony, window sill or kitchen surface to arrange a selection of small pots to grow plenty of things to use in your kitchen.
As well and looking goof in their containers, they’ll always be on hand to provide essential cooking ingredients.
The edible plants that work best in a domestic setting are the smaller kinds – compact herbs, a dwarf citrus, baby salad leaves or the diminutive varieties of tomatoes, such as cherry or baby plum.
Start off with plug plants then, once you’ve succeeded with easier crops such as herbs, try carrots, radishes , potatoes and the dwarf varieties of beans. (But do bear in mind that all of the will take up more room.)
One other thing worth considering is that edible plants needn’t be confined to the kitchen area. As long as they receive bright light, they can also be placed in other parts of the house, such as a conservatory or dining room, to be decorative as well as functional.
Here are the top five picks for easy to grow indoor crops:
- Sweet/bell peppers – They need bright, indirect sunlight. Water well in spring and summer less in winter.
- Chilli Peppers – Grow in moist compost on a warm bright window ledge, but don’t over water!
- Herbs – Chives, coriander, mint, basil, tarragon and sage will thrive in a moist compost in a sunny spot.
- Salad Leaves – The need plenty of bright light, so a sunny window ledge is ideal.
- Tomatoes – Grow in a warm bright spot for an abundant crop. Water well and add a weekly tomato feed.