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How to Grow Your Own Food - Step By Step Guide


‘To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow’ Audrey Hepburn

Guest Blog - Billy Jo O'Connor of Leagh Farm


As Spring rolls in to warmer days, it's the perfect time of year to sow some seeds to grow your own food. Whether you have a large garden, a patio or a windowsill, there is always room for some plants.  Plants that will do well in your environment. It's very satisfying to sow some tiny seeds and watch them grow, flourish and then nourish you. The taste is second to none and you'll never be stuck for a bit of lettuce or a tasty tomato.


You don’t need special containers to get started, raiding the recycling bin is the best place to start!  You can use plastic tubs, soup containers or even egg boxes to start your seeds.

 

Then you will need compost and seeds.


Compost comes in many forms.  Seeds don’t need nutrients to get growing.  Water, heat and light are the main factors. You can use a damp cloth or damp tissue if you like also, but that’s best for smaller seeds. Peat free seed compost would be the best type to buy. It has a fine structure and being peat free is a more sustainable option.  Compost can be purchased from many outlets, hardware stores, supermarkets, garden centres and specialist agri supply stores.

Seeds also come in many forms, organic, non organic, some coated with chemicals to combat risks of fungal infections or disease. I would always recommend organic seed as then you know you're buying seed of a high quality which is free from any harmful chemicals from the outset.


You can purchase seed for almost any vegetable or flower and they all come small but when choosing what to grow you need to consider the size the plant will become and the space you have.


Here’s a small list of some online suppliers:


Fruit Hill Farm - https://www.fruithillfarm.com/
Brown Envelope Seeds - https://www.brownenvelopeseeds.com/
Irish Seed Savers -  https://irishseedsavers.ie/
The Organic Center  -  https://www.theorganiccentre.ie/
Green Vegetable Seeds -  https://greenvegetableseeds.com/

Little Green Growers - https://www.littlegreengrowers.ie/

 

Vegetables like lettuces, salad leaves, Asian greens all grow well in small containers and would be well suited to a windowsill. These can also provide leaves for up to 3 months with careful cutting as they will keep regrowing new edible leaves. 

Herbs of all kinds love windowsills and can provide leaves all year long if cared for correctly. Tomatoes are another great option for inside growing. They are heat loving plant so a warm windowsill or a patio is ideal. One little seed will grow into a plant that could grow up to 4 feet tall and provide lots of delicious tomatoes in the summer months.


Potatoes, a much bigger seed, can be grown in pots, old compost bags, raised beds or planted in to the ground. They are very happy in Irish weather and would be just as happy in a field as they would a large pot at a back door.

If you have some outside space, there are lots of options, just make sure you know the size of the plant once fully grown. 

Below is a step by step pictorial guide to illustrate how to sow some lettuce and pea seeds. Tomato, chilli, Asian greens – can all be sown in the same way as the lettuce seeds. For larger seeds - pumpkin, squash, sunflowers, beans – sow them like the pea seeds.

STEP 1:

STEP 2:

 

STEP 3:
STEP 4:
Enjoy and share the bounty with a friend or neighbour, the gift of a plant is one that keeps on giving.
Leagh Farm is a small scale chemical free vegetable & fruit farm in north Kerry. Billy Jo and her family grow seasonal vegetables, fruit and salads. They operate a seasonal vegetable box scheme, sell in Ballybunion Community market and online through the Neighbourfood markets.

Find out more on Instagram @leagh_farm or email on leaghfarm@gmail.com. For more in this Grow Your Food Series, check out @odetoearth.ie

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