There’s something inherently satisfying in growing my own vegetables. In fact, there are lots of things. In the summer months I enjoy relaxing with a morning (afternoon!) coffee on the patio while surveying what I have growing there: last year it was onions and a variety of herbs. There is a huge difference between growing and tending to your crops throughout the seasons as opposed to running to your nearest supermarket and grabbing stuff off the shelf. Sure, your own crops might not always grow well, and they’ll probably look a bit more ugly, but somehow knowing that you got your hands dirty, planted the seeds, took care of them for months, and finally cooked them in your own recipes makes them that much more delicious.
Growing your own vegetable takes some planning. Even just knowing when to plant your seeds and where to place them will give you better results that simply throwing seeds into a pot and hoping for the best. Around this time last year I was planning to buy a greenhouse, which I eventually bought around March or so. It’s not huge, but large enough to allow me to walk in and work away. I use it to store smaller equipment (pots, labels, seeds, etc) and as a propagation centre for outdoor vegetables. Plants that like a warmer climate, such as tomatoes and chillies, I will leave them in there.
I’ve already ventured into my greenhouse and over the last couple of days I’ve planted aubergines, garlic, and winter onions. I’m considering getting a second greenhouse for tomatoes alone, as they can take up a lot of space.
Our garden is large enough for me to build raised beds. Last year I grew radishes and lettuce in my raised bed. This year I think I will expand to a second bed solely for onions. The original bed will be used to grow courgettes (got lots of these last year!) and maybe some lettuce and aubergines.
I really recommend that people try out some food gardening. It’s great fun and can save you a fortune on vegetables throughout the year. My expenses last year – including greenhouse, seeds, compost, feeds, labels – amounted to roughly €120, at an estimate. If I were to continue with the same setup again this year, all I need to buy is compost; I still have lots of seeds, lots of feed, and I don’t have to buy a greenhouse. Clearly, this hobby can pay for itself over and over.
You do not need a garden to try this out. I started out by growing herbs in pots – an ideal option for beginners or people with limited space. Herbs can be grown on windowsills and are very easy to grow. I suggest chives, basil, and rosemary to get you started. Strawberries are also quite easy to grow and taste unbelievably better than the crap you get in supermarkets.