5 Reasons to Grow-Your-Own

seed packets

I am a huge advocate of the grow-your-own philosophy that seems to have experienced a recent surge in popularity after interest waned post-'The Good Life' in the 1970s,  My family always owned an allotment, and recently my partner and I have been lucky enough to have a garden in which to experiment.  We have gained an immeasurable amount of pleasure from the vegetable plots, but even if you only have a few pots around the back door, there is a wealth of fresh produce that you could cultivate and enjoy.

 seed packets
If you're still not convinced, here are my top 5 reasons to grow-your-own...
  1. The taste.  There's nothing like it.  If you haven't picked a pea pod straight from the plant and eaten the baby peas like sweets then you won't understand - they are infinitely tastier than any frozen pea, no matter how short the field-to-freezer time is.  Other heroes in the grow-your-own taste world are carrots and new potatoes.  Don't even get me started on meals in which all the veg comes from the garden - vegetable kebabs will never be the same again for our household!
  2. The health benefits.  One of the joys in choosing your own seeds is that if you want to eat organic, it costs nowhere near as much extra as it does in the supermarkets and shops.  This means no additives, no chemicals, no rubbish.  Your body will thank you in the long run, believe me.  Recent research has also suggested that some food packaging contains chemicals that may affect the body; the question remains, if we buy our fruit and vegetables, how can we ever really know what we are feeding ourselves?
  3. The joy of of gardening.  I know that many people say they lack the gardening gene, and I would have counted myself as one of them at one point in time.  A blank canvas of lawn and a few summer weeks later and I was a convert.  There is nothing better on a sunny spring day than checking the growth of your new produce; yesterday, for example, I checked on my radishes and already they are making rapid progress.  Remember too, that gardening counts as exercise: an hour in the gym or an afternoon tending my plot?  I know which I'd prefer.
  4. Money.  Despite the fact that seeds can be a fairly expensive initial outlay, the financial benefits in the long run are tenfold.  For example, my partner and I bought 50 onion sets for less than £2 which will yield enough to last us for over 3 months.  If we bought onions from the supermarket, this could set us back around £16.  Although the difference may seem small, if you add up all the savings from all the veg grown, it can have a huge impact on our weekly spend.
  5. Community or family spirit.  Whether you grow on an allotment and make new friends in the community, or join together with a spouse or your children to grow-you-own, it's certainly a social activity.  My partner and I can easily waste a summer's afternoon pottering around the garden, ending in a homemade dinner picked-to-plate in less than 15 minutes.
I honestly could not imagine a life without home-grown fruit and vegetables any more, and I urge you to consider doing the same.  Start out small with a few pots of fresh herbs or some salad leaves and I am certain you won't look back.
Happy planting!
Eleanor Cheetham