In the developed world many of us have become accustomed to popping to the shops to satisfy our every whim or desire. On arriving at the supermarket or corner shop we are used to seeing selves brimming with fresh produce and all manner of packaged edible delights. The global Covid-19 pandemic that we currently find ourselves in has somewhat shaken our ability to have what we want, whenever we want it. In some cases it has made certain items completely unavailable. Panic buying has well and truly become a competitive sport, and as a result, supermarket shelves are becoming bare, and rationing systems have been put in place.
Perhaps we are witnessing the threat of food security for the first time in generations, but it is not all doom and gloom. For many, Covid-19 has provided some time out from normal routines and a bit of much needed headspace to re-evaluate the way we live.
The concept of becoming self-sufficient is having a very welcome revival. This is illustrated by a rise in the sale of fruit and vegetable seeds, so much so, that seed company websites are crashing due to the amount of orders! Could Covid-19 have given us the push we needed to take some ownership of where our food comes from and will we see long lost skills being re-learned? I really hope that this is the case.
A year and a half ago, a group of friends and myself were offered an allotment space by a local couple who for several reasons could not manage the plot themselves. With a passion for food and absolutely no horticultural experience at all we grabbed this opportunity without hesitation!
Since then we have learnt so much. We have trawled YouTube videos and blogs and we have got stuck in and tried things with varying amounts of success. We are lucky to have a fairly big plot, with four raised beds, a greenhouse and a fruit cage so we have plenty of space to try things out.
The produce we grew last year didn’t enable us to be completely self-sufficient in terms of fruit and vegetables, but it did provide us with lots of vitamin rich goodies. Our greatest successes were kale and spinach, to the point that we had more then we could have ever consumed ourselves! We were able to share these harvests with friends and family who live locally, and the ability to do this was so rewarding. With our ever-expanding knowledge we hope to make our plot even more productive this year by planting some winter crops and learning more about preserving and pickling our produce to make it go further.
I realise how lucky I am to live in the countryside and to have access to an allotment, I know that this is not everyone’s reality. However, the good thing is that everyone can have a go at growing something of their own, even if it’s just some herbs on a windowsill.
Seeds from Vital Seeds, Devon, UK
Here are my top five pieces of advice to get you started in the world of growing your own produce:
So, what are you waiting for? Stay home and get growing!
I would love to hear from you if you are starting out on your self-sufficiency journey or if you are an expert with tips and advice for me. Send me photos of your progress and most of all enjoy the many reward that growing your own produce brings!