Elizabeth Waddington shows that you don’t need to have green fingers to get started in gardening, and grow you own veg.
If you are one of those in our area lucky enough to have a garden, it is important to remember that this is a very valuable resource. Not everyone is lucky enough to have outside space. So if we have some, we have a duty to make the most of it in these trying times.
Remember, your garden, no matter how small, can be used to provide food and other resources for you, your household, and perhaps even the wider community in the months to come. Not all of us can volunteer to travel out and about to help in more immediate ways. But even if we are staying home, we can do our bit in our gardens.
Grow At Least Some of Your Own Food
Any food you can grow in your garden now can help in the months to come. Growing your own can allow you to do your part to boost resilience and learn new things. The more self-reliant you can be, the more external resources can be channelled to where they are really most needed.
Some seeds is really all you need to get started. Everything else you need, you can often gather either from your garden, or from your home.
Check out this link to find out more about seeds to sow now for food sooner than you may have imagined:
Wondering what to start your seedlings in? There are plenty of options.
- Make your own biodegradable plant pots. (Toilet roll tubes, small boxes, newspapers, egg boxes, egg shells etc. can all be used.)
- Use plastic food packaging. (yogurt pots, plastic food trays etc..)
- Upcycle old kitchen items, old clothes or other unwanted items from your home to make new pots and planters.
This link to find out about how you can get around the issue of not having easy access to a seed-starting potting mix:
Getting started is easier than you may imagine. Everyone with a garden should give it a go.
But you could also think about the food your garden might already provide. Did you know that many common weeds are edible? There are also plants that are usually considered to be ornamentals that have edible uses.
Sharing Seeds and Plants
If you already grow your own, perhaps you could help others get their hands on some of the things they need to get started. Through safe distribution channels set up by this group, it might be possible for you to pass on excess seeds, tools or other garden resources to those who need them.
Many of the sites selling seeds online have seen a massive increase in demand. So it is becoming more difficult for others to get the seeds they need to grow their own. If you have more than you need – perhaps you could pass them on?
If you sowed tomatoes or other warm weather crops on your windowsills earlier in the year, you may also have more seedlings than you really need. Being generous and passing these on could be a wonderful way to strengthen our community’s resilience moving forwards.
Remember – Gardens Can Provide More Than Just Food
Growing in your garden does not just provide food. It can also generate a range of other yields. Other resources that might be useful for household use or even for sharing in the months to come include:
- Good quality compost. (If you don’t already have a home composting system in place, now is definitely the time to start.)
- Worms (for vermicomposting).
- Herbs (for herbal remedies as well as for culinary use).
- Dyes, plant fibres and other materials for DIY/ art/ crafting etc..
- Perhaps even fuel (at least kindling for wood burning stoves etc.. in the form of pruned branches and twigs etc..)
Our gardens are far more than just a space to get outside and get some vitamin D. It is important that we all make sure we are making the most of the outside space we have at our disposal.
Elizabeth Waddington is a freelance writer, permaculture designer and sustainability consultant. She graduated from St Andrews back in 2003. She has her own garden where she grows fruits and vegetables and keeps rescue chickens, and also helps others with their gardens and farms all over the world. She works with individuals, businesses and charities to create better systems for a better world.