So I’m not an expert in plants…

…but my garden is full of edibles…. and I’ve managed to keep it alive for another year! Yippee!!!

I am completely in awe of (and grateful) to the actual horticulturists who spend years studying and training so that they are able to breed hardier, tastier varieties, can tell us the best way of growing things and how to amend soil, or how to control pests, etc. However, I do feel that most (if not all) don’t have the true experience of only having a tiny (sometimes inhospitable) space. Also, when you garden for a living you can, or surely must, dedicate time and effort to this passion. The rest of us just squeeze it in where we can. Also, who wants to come home in the dark after work in winter and go tend to the garden? Yeah… I feel the same way.

Saying that though, there’s nothing more satisfying than eating food that I’ve grown myself. I love the thrill (yes thrill – don’t judge me) of growing edibles in the laziest way possible, as cheaply as possible, as sustainably as possible, using all the space as efficiently as possible and without all the special equipment and products.

I’ve learnt everything I know from pouring over books, scouring the internet and a bit of experimentation in my own garden – but even that is informed by the experimentation of those who have come before me. In this information rich world, we stand on the shoulders of others and most of our knowledge is built on other people’s work. I certainly didn’t discover for myself that raspberries, blueberries and kiwis need acidic soil… and I certainly didn’t breed the hardy variety of kiwi that grows outdoors in my London garden. I, therefore, only think it’s fair that I pass on everything that I have learnt hopefully to inform and inspire anyone, everyone to grow their own food. Of course, with my little garden I’m not living The Good Life, but I can at least say that in a good year our garden supplies maybe 30% of our vegetables and I’m hoping to increase that by growing more hardy perennials that thrive despite neglect.

My blog possibly has some selfish roots too, as much of our current lifestyle is not environmentally friendly. The pollution levels in cities are incredibly damaging to all who live there, especially children. Growing some of your own food, however little, makes a difference. I’m no eco warrior. There’s plenty of guilty pleasures that I can’t give up. I just hope that growing our own edibles could be one of the small changes we could make, especially in cities to make a small difference. For every plant you grow, that’s carbon dioxide being removed, and oxygen being added to your immediate environment. For every single thing you eat out of your garden, that’s zero food miles and zero packaging. Think not of just the disposal or recycling of our supermarket packaging, but also the energy required in its manufacturing. That’s also food grown without damage to the environment if you choose not to use pesticides or fertilisers (I’ll also add an article later about how fertilisers can also be bad) and, of course, in your garden you won’t be practising single crop farming. I aim to add articles about how to reuse or recycle things which is cheaper and more environmentally friendly than buying special equipment that, again, requires energy in its manufacture and transport. Lastly in my deranged growing edibles evangelism sermon, I’d like to highlight that, from watching us grow our own, little ones can develop a better respect and understanding of how food is produced. It’s the younger generation that seem to be leading the fight to reverse our environmental impact.   

In this blog I’ll add details on all the things I’ve grown that I would (and even wouldn’t recommend) growing for certain spaces and situations. I’ll give suggestions and ideas on how to build things and use things as cheaply as possible. I’ll be happy to share my mistakes so you can also see what not to do. Lastly, I’m afraid the science teacher in me may also feel the need to add some science-y info on things like eutrophication. You could google that – or watch this space!   

Hopefully I have you convinced if not at least interested. So I’ll get off my soap box and wish you Happy Growing!


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