seeds growing in old packaging

Start Growing Food! (even if you don't have seeds, pots or compost)

How to start growing your own food! (even if you don't have seeds, pots or compost)
Written for North Leeds Life by Tracy Foster

Are you stuck at home and wanting to grow fruit and veg in the

garden or in pots? Looking for interesting activities to do with the children?
Wishing you had bought seeds and compost when they were readily
available?

Here are a few tips for finding things to grow and having a
go!



What to grow?

Have a look round your home – the chances are you will have
seeds in the house already.

In the fruit bowl there may be apples, oranges, pears or plums –
the seeds should germinate quickly if you remember to keep the soil moist.
Admittedly it may be a few years before you get fruit, but apple and pear trees
are a great addition to the garden and citrus fruits make lovely houseplants
and the whole process is great fun for young and old.

Posh fruits like papaya, avocado etc. will also make
interesting houseplants.



Maybe you have some tomatoes or bags of herbs in the
fridge?

Tomatoes are full of seeds and will produce baby tomato
plants in just a couple of weeks if you place a whole slice of tomato on a pot
of compost or soil and cover with a 2cm of soil on top. Herbs such as mint and
basil will produce roots in a matter of days if you strip off the lower leaves
and stand them in water. Pot them up into containers of soil and they will soon
make bushy plants.

Potatoes that are sitting in the veg rack sprouting roots and
looking past-it can be buried in a bucket of soil, or a weed free area of soil
in the garden and you will soon have leaves appearing above the surface and a
crop of potatoes to look forward to when the plants begin to flower later in
the summer.



Even your store cupboard may contain seeds
to try. Dried beans, chick peas, marrowfat peas or whole lentils are worth a
go. You can put them on damp kitchen paper for a few days to see if they
sprout, and any that do can be planted up in pots of soil ready to plant out
when they are bigger. Spices like coriander, poppy seeds, cumin and fennel are
also good for sowing in pots.



Other things to try are seeds from butternut squash, root
ginger, a clove of garlic – anything that has seeds or looks as though it is starting
to sprout is definitely good to experiment with.



How to grow it?

You don’t need plant pots and seed trays to get started,
packaging such as yoghurt pots, plastic trays that fruit or veg. came in, even
egg boxes or washed out tin cans all make good containers to start off seeds if
a few drainage holes are made in the bottom. If you can get hold of general
purpose compost that is ideal but garden soil broken up to have a fine crumbly
texture can be used. After all that is what plants use when they are growing in
the wild.

When your plants get larger they can be gradually acclimatised to outdoor
conditions by standing them out during the day and eventually they can be
planted into large containers outdoors or straight into soil in the garden.
Just like the containers for sowing seed, the ones to use outside do not need
to be purpose made, any old buckets, plastic boxes, old sacks or even whacky
objects like handbags or boots can be filled with soil or compost and used to
grow plants!

Don’t forget to water your seeds and developing plants and
make sure they are in a place where they can get plenty of natural light.