So, How To Create A Beautiful Vegetable Garden For FREE??
Each day we hear more and more about money and how food is getting more expensive. How the population is growing so fast that we might run out of food. Very dire thoughts indeed. Especially for our kids. What do they face in 5, 10, or 20 years time.
To reduce the amount of food we consume, to supplement our income and make money go further by cutting down on food costs and at the same time teach our children a very valuable Life Skill for the future, we must learn to make the most of every scrap of our food, reduce waste and eat less meat too.
“I have a family, how am I supposed to cut down and stretch things with so many mouths to feed” I hear you shout.
Well, stop eye rolling at me and I’ll tell you! The answer is … to use the left overs from your supermarket shop?
Now you’re looking at me like ‘what?!?’
Yup you heard me. We throw away so much food these days as everything is about convenience and quickness. But if you take a minute and think you can use most of those little bits you don’t use to benefit you and your family. I don’t just mean using up your left over, although this is a great idea too.
We are lucky enough to have an allotment and as wonderful as it is sometimes it can be jolly hard work! Especially with 3 kids in tow. But expecting every parent to sign up for the ever decreasing allotments on offer to dig in and produce food while working a full-time job and all the rest that goes with it isn’t realistic.
But with a little know how you could grow a lot of the things you buy, in your own garden or windowsill.
Read below for some fantastic ideas. My kids love these activities and we always have a few of these running at any one time. Either for us eating or for our rabbit who loves to munch and crunch.
Beware! Some fruit and vegetables are sprayed with chemicals to stop them sprouting, so try to buy organic produce if you are attempting these activities.
So What what can you try?
Basil and herbs.
When buying potted herbs such as Basil at the shops. Carefully split up the clump and plant in a larger pot to get a bigger harvest.Water well and pinch out the tips to encourage the plant to bush out and grow more leaves. They will last all summer long in a sheltered place or on a windowsill.
Dried Marrow-fat Peas.
can be bought very cheaply in the pulses aisle. Sow them in a pot on the window sill to grow peas shoot leaves for salads, or outdoors in a pot. Put in some bamboo canes for the pea shoots to grow up and you’ll get some fresh pea pods in a few months.
Use a left over slice of a tomato, or if your kids are like mine they hate eating the seeds so i have a pile of jelly seeds left each time. Give them a wash and remove the jelly substance as this stops growth (might have to soak them in water for a day or so) Sprinkle them in a pot of soil and cover them lightly and if you keep it warm, they will produce lots of tomato plants. Grow on in a pot on the patio or on a sunny windowsill and soon you’ll have amazing tasting sun ripened tomatoes to eat and enjoy!
When you’ve eaten a bunch of celery and have the bottom stub left. Plant it in a pot of soil and it’ll regrow some fresh and crunch celery stems and leaves. Easy peasy.
These can be regrown by sitting the growing tip in a shallow dish of water. Change the water daily and soon you’ll have a lush green foliage to use in salads (or feed to your rabbit like we do!)
You have a few options here. You can simply buy a small packet of seeds at the supermarket these days lettuce leaves you can sow in a pot on the windowsill. Some are cut n come again, so you could have salads all season for a fraction of the cost. You can also regrow the base of a lettuce once you’ve eaten the leaves. pop the part where it roots into a pot and keep moist. Soon it will regrow lush crunchy leaves for you to eat.
Strawberries can be sown from the seeds. Just remove some from your chosen strawberry and sprinkle them on the top of some compost. Very lightly sprinkle some soil over them to steady them not really to cover. Keep warm and moist and your strawberry plant will flourish in no time.
It does take a while but it is well worth growing your own. Alpine strawberries especially are super easy to grow. Once you have 1 plant growing well it will produce long ‘stems’ stretching out from the pot with a tiny baby strawberry plant on the end. Normally, once this long stem hits the soil, the baby plant would root and grow a new plant. This is how you can make many plants from 1.
Just pot up your baby strawberry while it’s still attached to ‘mummy’ and after its growing well just chop it off the stem and you have another plant. This process is never ending so let your strawberries live long and prosper!!
Spring onions, onions and leeks will regrow from the root part. Just leave about 3cm of onion attached to the root end and pop in a shallow glass of water. When the roots appear from the base just plant it up into a pot of soil. Then the top leaves will start to regrow and you can use as needed.
This will regrow easily. Next time you have a spare stick, just plant it in a pot on the windowsill! Water it well and keep it warm and soon it’ll grow fresh leaves you can use for curries or other delicious food. If you leave it to grow more the leaves will firm up into another stick of lemongrass and create a large bush- if you live in a sheltered area this can even be grow in the garden as an attractive plant.
When you buy a bulb or garlic at the supermarket then split it up to use the cloves in recipes. Did you know you can plant them and grow more? cloves from a bulb will regrow leaves and eventually a new bulb. We use large cloves to plant in a pot outside in November to grow new bulbs of garlic. We use the little ones indoors in a pot to regrow some green garlic growth to use in salads and we grow LOTS of garlic in the garden in small pockets. The need cold weather to grow well so it saves clogging up the windowsill and it’s a simple activity to keep kids interested in growing in the Winter when not much else can be done.
Stick 2 or 3 smaller potatoes or even chunky bits of peel with ‘eyes’ on it.(small spot like marks on the potato skin will grow shoots if left in a sunny place.) Place into a pot on the patio.or a left over bag of soil. By July you will have tasty new potatoes.
Keep adding a little more soil to the top of the pot to prevent the potatoes pushing up out of the soil and going green which makes them dangerous to eat. Just feel around the top of the soil and take what you need and leave the rest to grow till you need them.
Leaves can be eaten flat and dipped in egg and pan-fried or eaten as spires as the unfurl from the soil wrap in bacon and eat like asparagus.
Yes garden weeds. Cleavers, Dandelion, Shepherds purse, Plantains are all SO good for you. Make sure to wash leaves thoroughly before use. These leaves are great for salads, pestos and and an extra in stirfrys ( and bunnies too!)etc. Experiment and see what you like it’s FREE!!
This tropical fruit can regrow from the seeds. Like tomatoes just pop a slice on the soil in a warm place and cover lightly. In a few weeks you should have lots of seedlings.
This Is so easy and such a pretty house plant. Just press a 2 inch piece of fresh ginger into the soil on the top of a pot of compost. Keep it uncovered though and warm and soon it will produce roots and grow a lovely plant you can harvest roots from. It has a beautiful flower and makes a great houseplant too,.
If you prop up a sweet potato in a jar so only the end is in the water – you can use cocktail sticks to keep press into the potato so just the end in in the jar, It will grow shoots called slips.
These can be removed and put in water on their own so they grow roots. Once rooted you just pop in the soil and eventually grow a whole bucketful of sweets roots.
Peanuts will regrow if planted in a pot of soil on a windowsill. It’s the roots that produce the nuts.
Ones such as mint and lemon balm will regrow roots if you put a sprig in a glass of water. Plant it up once roots grow and you’ll never be without it again
It’s strange but true. Pineapples will grow an attractive house plant and eventually a pineapple if you slice off the top and discard the flesh. Using the stump, plant it into a pot and watch it flourish. For more information on this check out thegardenglove.com
Pumpkins or squash will grow from their seeds. Save them and dry if not ready to sow. Sow in April indoors on a warm windowsill and keep potting up until they’re ready to go outdoors. Feed well and enjoy your massive pumpkin in October.
Lemons and Oranges
Citris will grow an attractive plant from seeds, Put a few in a pot or an old mug and watch the leaves grow. These leaves smell amazing and will scent any room. It’s an attractive house plant too.
You can also use them for flavouring food like you would use Kaffira Lime leaves. Wrap them round chicken, flavour curries or puddings with them. Don’t actually eat the leaves though as they’re a bit tough.
Another top up plant from nature. It grows in woodland and is so easy to pick. You can eat the leaves and the flowers. You could also make a pesto from the leaves and freeze it.
Mushrooms are last but not least. This was a new one on me last week. Simply take the stem part of the mushroom you would normally throw away and place it in a pot of soil. Keep in moist and warm somewhere dark and soon you’ll have your own crop of lovely mushrooms.
PIN IT FOR LATER
‘Sow’ there you have it ha. A ton of free food all from things you’d throw away or ignore. What could you do to reduce your spending? Let me know what you already grow or is there something you’d love to grow but aren’t sure how?? Drop me a comment and let me know.