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Living off the land: How to grow and maintain food in your garden

25th November 2015 Print

An increasing number of people are using their allotments and gardens to grow fruit and vegetables. This isn’t some time of idealistic ‘back to nature’ trend. Home grown fruit and vegetables taste better than the mass produced variety, aren’t contaminated by chemical sprays and fertilisers and this process is an immensely satisfying exercise.

Start with fruit trees

If you do want to experience the joy of picking your own fruit then start off by looking at a wide range of fruit trees here. You don’t have to stick with apples and pears, why not be adventurous and try planting some quince or medlar trees? 

If you’re a jam or jelly maker, then you can boost your store cupboard with these tasty fruits.

Soft fruits

Strawberries and raspberries can be expensive in the shops so if you grown your own you’ll be saving money and producing a wonderfully delicious summer fruit. Strawberries are easy, simply buy the plants, fill the ground with mulch and let them produce their magic. If you’re at all worried about slugs, try planting your strawberries in hanging baskets or containers or even plant them in a herb bed next to some garlic or garlic chives.   

Raspberries take a little more space and you will have to protect these fruits from predators with netting. Some breeds of raspberry can produce two crops. It’s important that the young plants have support while growing and you should prune the plants regularly in order to ensure a good crop. 

Growing Vegetables

Living off the land takes planning. Find out which are the best months for planting your vegetables. Do you have the space to cultivate all your vegetables in your garden or should you investigate the possibility of an allotment? If you do opt for an allotment be prepared for a lengthy wait as these wonderful spaces always come with a queue of applicants.

Once you’ve dug your patch or prepared your raised beds then it’s worthwhile visiting the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) website for vegetable growing advice. Rather than nurturing from seed you might find it easier to source young plants from a local garden centre.

Companion planting 

If you’re concerned about bugs and pests and don’t want to use commercial pesticides then try companion planting. The city of Bradford has information about this process and commends it to gardeners by stating, ‘certain plants seem to cheer each other along, producing better harvests, sweeter fruits and brighter blooms.’ 

For example, if you are growing carrots, then detract carrot root flies by planting rosemary or other strong scented herbs next to your plants. The fly will become confused and won’t attack your vegetables. 

Enjoy your fruit and vegetables and save money

Once you’ve organised your planting and harvesting you’ll never want to eat a commercially grown product again. You’ll also start to save money. If you want a healthier lifestyle and to eat products that taste wonderful, then get started. You can grow tomatoes on a windowsill and strawberries in a hanging basket, city dwellers and those living in the country can all live off the land.