Looking for an active hobby that’s both fun and can save you money? Why not try growing your own in the garden! You don’t need an enormous space, even small gardens can produce fantastic crops if you’re smart about it.
It’s always quite magical to see a tiny seed turn into something edible, and helps you to remember where your food comes from too. When everything in the supermarket is wrapped in film (and often flown thousands of miles), it’s all too easy to detach from the process. Some plants are particularly good to grow, because not only can you enjoy eating them fresh, but they also store really well too. So you can enjoy the fruits of your labour all the way through the year, even after the growing season has ended. If you’re looking to grow you own, here are a few ideas to consider!
Even if you only have a balcony or very small garden, you can plant up a very successful herb garden. They grow well in pots and grow quickly over the warmer months. Fresh herbs are easy to grow but expensive to buy, and so this is something everyone should be getting on board with. They’re low maintenance so great for beginners, and there are so many varieties you’ll be spoiled for choice. You can use bumper crops of mint to make mint sauce which will keep indefinitely providing you can them properly in sterilised jars. You can use herbs to infuse bottles of oil or vinegar, and they freeze well too. Chop up the herb of your choice and mix with olive oil. Then pour into an ice cube tray and pop in the freezer. Whenever you’re making a sauce, soup or other dish you can simply grab on out and throw it in. You can also dry your own herbs easily in your kitchen too.
If you’re looking for some maintenance free crops, onions will be right up your street! You can buy ‘onion sets’ from garden centres, these are young onions which have had their flower enzymes killed. This prevents them from running to seed, and instead they will grow into perfect onions every with no hassle to you. Sites like Grow Like Grandad have more information about growing onions as well as other general gardening advice. Perfect if you’re new to growing your own. Onions can be used in just about every savoury dish, and stores well as homemade onion chutney. It does take a lot of onions to produce a relatively small amount, so if you have more than you know what to do with this is the ideal option!
Fruit trees are a fantastic addition to any garden. They look great all year but at the end of every summer will provide you with a tonne of delicious fruit. Apples, plums, and pears are all easy to grow here in the UK, and once you’re finished eating enough fresh fruit as you want there are loads of ways to store the excess. Apples can be transformed into apple sauce, or dried and added to granola. Plums and pears can be made into jams or chutneys and used in both sweet and savory dishes. While it can take a number of years for fruit trees to start producing fruit, once they do you’re ready to go and always have your own supply. Tasty, good for you and don’t cost a penny!