Grow Your Own Vegetables - Hornby Garden Designs - Vegetable Plants - Vegan - Garden Design Plans - Veggie Patch - Vegetable Garden Design - Shrewsbury - UK 
Tuesday, January 8, 2019 at 12:57
Jason Hornby in Garden Design, Garden Ideas, Garden Inspiration, Garden Plans, animal welfare, climate change, growing vegetables, home-grown greens, live it work it, self sufficient, veg patch, vegan, veganuary, vegetable garden design, vegetarian

GOING GREEN, FOR YOURSELF.

Health climate change, animal welfare, forget about the reasons, just enjoying having a plate full of home-grown greens.


Never before has going vegetarian or vegan, been so popular. Recently Greggs, of all places, brought out a vegan sausage roll, and within hours had sold out in Westminster – the heart of the establishment. The rise of veganism, which was once seen as a fringe movement, is now unstoppable. Everyone everywhere is getting onto this bandwagon as quickly as they can. With McDonald’s just introducing their first ever vegan-friendly Happy Meal. But it’s not just going vegan for January, Veganuary, it’s about a more permanent change.

VEGANISM, THE NUMBERS


350%
Rise in the number of vegans in Britain from 2006-2016; 542,000 people said they were vegans in 2016.

168,000
Veganuary 2018 participants, of which 60% were under 35, up from 3,300 on its 2014 launch.

185%
Increase in vegan products launched in the UK between 2012 and 2016.

1944
The year the term vegan was coined by woodwork teacher Donald Watson. 
Rejected words include ‘dairyban’, ‘vitan’ and ‘benevore’.

20%
Percentage of under-35s who have tried a vegan diet.

Figures from Dan Hancox – The Guardian 2018

The great thing about going vegetarian, is that even if you’ve got a very limited space, you can grow plenty of your own greens to put on your plate. Packed with nutrients, they taste great and you have the smug joy that comes with knowing you’re eating something that you’ve grown yourself. But how hard, or easy is it, and more importantly, how much land do you need?

I DON'T HAVE A LOT OF SPACE

We’re not all lucky enough to have acres of land on which we can grow an annual harvest. But not to worry. Even if you live in a flat, there’s still plenty that you can grow yourself.

If you’re pressed on room, the most important thing to consider when you’re deciding which vegetables to plant, is space. While you might love to grow rhubarb, they can very quickly take up a lot of room. Thankfully, more and more seed companies are producing dwarf varieties that can be grown in pots. Also, look out for those vegetables that will allow you to use space creativity. For instance, there many varieties that can be grown up a trellis; beans, peas, cucumbers, tomatoes, even squashes and melons for instance.
So, which varieties to grow? Apart from the obvious choice of growing those that you love, it can be a good idea to grow those vegetables that are expensive to buy – the savings will only make them taste even better!
Legumes (peas and beans) are a good example of this. Because they have a high sugar content, legumes taste best when eaten within an hour of being picked. After this, the sugar turns to starch, leaving them tasteless and bland. They can cost a lot to buy in the shops and, often, they have been lying on the shelves for some days before purchase, further reducing their taste. Legumes that grow well in small spaces include:


Not only is growing vegetable in pots a great way of adding colour to your kitchen, there’s nothing nicer, or impressive, than simply being able to reach out and pick a few herbs to sprinkle over a dish.

Lettuces for instance can be grown in pots on a windowsill. Look for lettuce mixes sold as cutting lettuces or leaf lettuce varieties. With these, you can harvest the leaves and the plant will grow back, giving you more lettuce for half the work.

Chillies, peppers and tomatoes - I’ve group these together as not only do they seem to go so well together in the plate, but they also have the same needs. Plenty of sunshine, regular watering (although tomatoes do require more watering) and fertiliser every couple of weeks. The tomatoes will do best with a trellis, while depending on the varieties you have chosen for peppers and chillies, you might not need this added support.

Cress. So simple and easy to grow (Haven’t we all grown some on tissue paper at school?) that you often forget just how good this peppery accompaniment can be. There are lots of different varieties to choose from, and plenty with larger leaves, making them great for salads. They’re also packed with vitamin C and A and manganese – which is essential in detoxification.

Keeping in with the peppery taste theme, radishes are also quick and easy to grow indoors. Apart from packing a punch, they can be ready to pick in two to three weeks. Making them ideal if you’re not a patient gardener. Who is?

As for which herbs to grow, you can pretty much grow all of them. Choose those that you use frequently and again, choose those that can be pricey in the shops. But if you’ve got enough window space, my top ten would be:

I’VE GOT A GARDEN


Now, if you’re fortunate enough to have more space in which to start your own green revolution, then when choosing vegetables and varieties to grow, you also need think about the seasons so that year-round there’s always something for you to pick. So, while late-summer Mediterranean crops such as peppers, aubergines, courgettes and tomatoes might be high up your list, you might want to use the space for a succession of crops through the year, so aim for spring, summer, autumn and winter crops. Not forgetting that some of these can always be grown indoors!

Lastly, start off small. It’s easy to get carried away by planting seeds and vegetable plugs everywhere, but remember, the more you plant, the more you have to care for. Use the first couple of years as time to experiment and to find out which vegetables work for you. While a crop of Tomatillos (A relative of the tomato with a totally unique lime-flavour) might have seemed like a great idea at the time, the fact that you never used them should tell you something.

And that’s it. Just getting stuck in and before you know it you’ll be tucking into the fruits of your labours. Good luck.

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