My challenge of trying to get people to grow their own food is always ongoing.
A while ago I posted on my blog that I’d been given some free salad seeds and wanted to give them away.
Unfortunately not one person stepped forward which meant I’ve not got anywhere near my challenge of getting 25 people to grow a pot of carrots this year.
I was genuinely puzzled by this. After all free seeds are free and I wanted other people to experience the pure pleasure you get from cultivating and harvesting your own veggies.
Alas this wasn’t to be but I did continue to wonder why I couldn’t even get people I knew to engage. Was it something I was or wasn’t doing? So I decided to ask on Facebook the following question:
Okay, so here’s the thing…I’ve offered support, advice, free seeds and still I’m not at getting anywhere near the 25 people growing their own veggies. What gives? What have I not done, or need to do? This isn’t a sales pitch it’s genuine interest to get people to start taking back control of their own food. Tell me straight oh friends of mine, I promise any and all criticism and advice will be welcomed from a gardening, sales, marketing or any other pitch…
From that status I received enough comments to gather that the following appears to be at least some of the stumbling blocks to my idea:
- No space
- Space available is only concrete
- Cheaper and easier to visit a supermarket
- killing plants (too easily)
- …and time
So here are my answers that hopefully solve those issues:
- Space – everyone has some space. Space can be found everywhere. When people say they haven’t got space to grow anything it could mean they are using space for something else (i.e flowers), or they don’t realise how much growing potential there is in very little space. I mean I’m talking less than a meter, 50 cms even. Every house has usually got some kind of patio area leading from a door, and I haven’t seen a property yet that hasn’t got a windowsill so space is definitely not a problem. It’s just what to do with that space and finding the best possible use for it.
- Solution - One of two, if you’re not sure what space you have let me know, or if you’re not sure what can be grown in the space you’ve identified – let me know and we can discuss and make some suggestions. Here are some ideas for starters.
- Concreted area – these are great areas for growing containers on with the added bonus that you can replace them from season to season with different plants and flowers. Just because you only have concrete or gravel areas doesn’t mean you can’t grow anything.
- Solution – just start with one small container/pot – keep it in a corner so it doesn’t look out of place and fill it with compost. One container could grow one type of vegetable or fruit such as potatoes, raspberries, carrots, tomatoes… the list goes on. You could even have a container next to a fence and grow hops along the fence if you fancied blocking your neighbours out and growing your own beer
- Supermarkets are easier and cheaper – okay I won’t get on my soap box about this because I totally understand why anyone would say this, after all they are kinda right. Supermarkets usually are easy to get too, but then again so is your garden. Supermarkets are also very cheap for some goods – fruit not being one of them though which is why we have a sugar addicted society because chocolate is much cheaper than an apple. Aside from the cheap and easy reasons you also have to weigh up the health implications of your choices. Buying at a supermarket means you’re very often buying goods bought in bulk that have been put thorough various pesticides, and contains less nutrient value because of every previous years worth of pesticides filtering into the ground.
- Solution – try it, just one pot of veggies in the garden and I guarantee you (100%) that your veg will not only taste better but you’ll feel so much better for knowing how that veg has been grown.
- Killing Plants – Yup, we all do it. Those caterpillars ravaged my cabbages, I’ve had swede seedlings killed because of slugs and I’ve even lost a few plants from forgetting to water them. It happens but it shouldn’t put you off growing anything. Growing your own veggies is all about experimentation and fun.
- Solution - Gardening is like anything else, either it’s a chore or a hobby. If it’s a chore then it’s harder to remember to do things like feed, water and so forth. The real challenge is me finding you a reason to want to grow something. If you want to do it’s much easier to remember the plants. Here is one reason, here is another…and finally – here’s another.
Don’t look at it as a massive allotment project, just look at doing the one pot.
One pot per year means you only have to concentrate on that one pot. Put a trigger with it so that every time you go outside to put your rubbish in the bin you walk past the pot so you can see what it’s doing and help it along accordingly- pests, watering, feeding.
- Time – This one fits nicely with the one above, time will be an issue when you’re not into gardening which I understand.
- Solution - Again don’t think of this as a massive time consuming project. You can spend as much or as little time gardening as you want. One pot of growing veggies is going to take about 10 minutes of (work?) per week. The initial getting the pot, buying the compost and filling the pot, sowing the seeds and first water will take all in all (depending on how far you go for the pot, seeds and compost) about 1 hr. After that 10 minutes every week just to check the plants and water them.
Hope that has helped somewhat. And hopefully it’ll make you take up my challenge of growing a pot of veggies or fruit in your house/garden/yard or whatever space you have. Because just one pot really can make a huge difference.
I’d love to know your thoughts. How do I get you growing your own?
Thank you to the following peeps who got in touch with me about this:
Tracie, Sophie, Mandi, Dave, Teresa, Amanda, Mark and Angie