Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 01:42:40 PM EST
Since I'm sitting down to a semi-virtuous snack - two wraps with a fresh mixed leaf salad from the garden, the last of our tomatoes and some good tinned sardines - it's probably a good time to start a little series on growing food at home in urban environments in the hope of encouraging people who could grow their own but don't to give it a try.
I'm no expert, but it seems to me that one of the small things we can do to decrease our environmental footprint is to grow what we can where we are - though I'm more convinced by being able to wander out the back door and cut some chives, cress, land-cress and chard to make a tasty, crunchy salad.
I'm interested in learning what to grow, where and how to grow it and how to use it. I'm noticeable fanatical and have a reasonably large garden, but I'd link to cover all the reasonable options for growing food in limited space, from a few containers on the balcony or windowsill to people with more space than our 20 foot by 40 foot patch.
The first question: what's worth growing? I prefer to prioritise high-value items that are poorly provided by the shops:
- Herbs, obviously: these are expensive fresh, generally come in bigger batches than you can easily use (though many freeze adequately) and are very often of awful quality.
- Salads: again expensive, wasteful and suffer badly from storage and shipping.
- Tomatoes: there are varieties suitable for most reasonable environments and their flavour when really fresh is much better than bought - even when growing the same varieties. Other similar fruit can be worth growing, though there are less options.
After that we start getting into issues of space and style: growing fruit trees, root crops, brassicas (cabbages and the like) depends very much on how much space you have and how you want to use it.
How would you rank things?