10 Good Reasons to Cultivate the Space You Have

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There are literally hundreds of reasons for sowing and planting fruit and vegetables but below are just ten reasons that I think are good for using your space to grow your own delicious food.

I’d love to hear yours – please add below 🙂

1. Food production is ultimately in our hands.  If we leave it too long not only will land skills be lost but we’re going to end up with a food system that is made up of factory style farming and GM crops, inc veggies.  I don’t want to appear to be dramatising but it’s really happening.  So the best way of avoiding it and making our food system good again is to think small and more productive.

2. It’s fun.  Finding the right plot, pot, designing your beds, swapping seeds.  It’s all about enjoying yourself and enjoying the space you’ve got to use.

3. It’s not difficult.  Unlike many things in life cultivating plants for food is easy.  It’s not about having RHS qualifications, it’s about learning as you go along.  Gently getting in tune with the area you live in, the weather, the temperatures to understand over time what works and what doesn’t grow so well.

3. It’s cheaper than shop bought goods.  While it may take time setting up your plot once it’s done and crafted it means you’ve got plants growing that will taste better and be cheaper than buying from the supermarkets.  What’s even better are those varieties of unusual fruit and veg that you can experiment with and will still save you money from shop bought.

4. It makes you a much better person.  Cultivating, digging, planting, all these things start bring to you senses of patience, problem-solver, and peace.  Just you and your space, a chance to bring about and nurture plants and flowers and satisfaction of eating your own produce.  Spending time with plants is also proven to help with mental health.

5.  You get to spend time outside.  If you are like me a lot of time during the week is spent indoors, for some that can also mean time away from natural light.  If you’ve got a reason to go outside then all the better, especially if it means being outside in all weathers.  This is good for us, the cold, the wind – for short periods it’s good for our bodies to feel fresh air and even if the sun isn’t shinning to get our space ready for when it does.

6. What other hobby can you test out great tools?!  From a rotavator to the latest in secateurs, the world of garden tools are as dynamic as any other industry – just check out this rather nifty growing device for your window.

7. Cultivating the space you have helps insects, birds and ultimately the whole eco-system.  By growing plants you are automatically encorouging bees, beetles and other insects to come and take a wonder round your patch, if it’s got just the right amount of plants, and no pesticides the insects will set up home which then create food for other birds and mammals.  You become an animal warrior 😉

8. It keeps you fit.  Rather than spending the time watching TV, spending time on social network sites or snaking through boredom your cultivated space will mean you’ve got more reason to be up and about tending, watering, planting, checking for green fly.  On a balcony that’s at least 30 minutes of extra activity you wouldn’t normally get.

9. You meet new people.  The world of gardening, chilli growing and allotmenteering all bring with it various interactions with like minded folk.  Good people that want to be part of a better growing system, people that want to grow the hottest, the biggest chillies or people that just want to swap seeds.  All there to offer and support you along the way, in whatever capacity you feel most comfortable, either face to face, group meets or on-line.  Just like on this blog 🙂

10. Were you going to use your space for anything else?  If the only thing your balcony is used for is to look pretty or your 5 acres for for your horse to graze on then all well and good but what if you just took a tiny part of that space and turned it into something that produced top tasting radishes or old English apples?  Wouldn’t that look great too?

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10 responses to “10 Good Reasons to Cultivate the Space You Have

  1. I especially like #3, growing more than just the standard varieties promotes interest in keeping heirloom varieties alive– witness all the delicious tomatoes and apples that we have available again (not just the plastic supermarket varieties that almost took over for a while there, at least in the U.S.) That applies to flowers as well as vegetables — I remember searching out “antique iris” growing by the roadsides.
    Lovely post — Sandy

    • Most fruit and veg is very bog standard in our supermarkets. Some do try and break the mould but people aren’t usually very keen and so they can’t get in bulk. I think the only exception to this is our apples which we treasure over here. One major supermarket worked with a big charity to bring a range of heritage apples to the shelves but they were costly to buy and only for a limited time (I do believe). The only real alternative is to grow the heritage or unusual in your own plot. I love the yellow courgettes.

  2. I never thought I’d be a gardener of any sort up to 5 years ago and now I not only look after ours I’m overseeing the schools patch as well 🙂

    I’ve lost a ton of weight (not literally I hasten to add) and feel much happier except for the ant, spider and fly bites but I’ll cope with those because it’s worth it to see my girls having fresh strawberries with their breakfast, carving pumpkins we grew ourselves for Halloween and sitting down to home grown parsnips, tatties, beans and carrots, as part of Christmas Dinner.

    Last year, as well as the normal range of veg, the school, was given purple podded peas and rattlesnake pole beans to grow, both of which are heirloom varieties, so I’m told. This year I’ve introduced even more variety into the school patch as well: Romanesca; Kohl Rabi; Round carrots & round courgettes, as well as the regular kind; and also different types of winter squash (oh and let’s not forget the melon). The children think it’s great and are looking forward to being able to see and try these different things – show me a round courgette in the supermarket and just you try getting them to sell purple pea pods.

    The EU, regulatory bodies, supermarkets etc have a ‘one size fits all’ mentality and they need to lose it fast!

    Oops, sorry Sophie, I appear to have written a novel on your comments page 😉

    • No, it’s great to hear from you. I didn’t mention children in my post but it’s absolutely vital we get the next generation involved in gardening and food production else we’ll loose these important skills forever. It’s also really important (especially here in Grimsby) to get children eating healthy fresh food, because we’ve got a really serious deprivation issue, and while ever a bag of crisps or a chocolate bar are cheaper than a punnet of strawberries then we’ve got a fight on our hands. We can’t leave it to the supermarkets, it has to be done at home. I’m really pleased to hear you’re love of gardening has grown. It’s like that though isn’t it? It starts with something small and as you’re confidence grows so does your veggie patch 😉

  3. I could not say better Sophie. Pleasure to be in the garden, pleasure to see plants growing and the pleasure is to eat them! As you it keeps you in good mental health and body health as now with Monsanto we don’t know what we eat.
    About 15 years ago I use to visit schools and helped them to make their own compost (so much food is wasted in school canteens),
    to plant flowers and vegetables, to watch the insects etc.. and children were so much interested and it makes them understand how food is precious.
    Thanks for this nice post!

    • Thanks very much for your kind comments. Yes there is just nothing like being in the garden and being part of the earth really. Like you said – another good reason – our Govts don’t seem to have any control over our food and right now we really haven’t got a clue what we’re ingesting unless we grow it ourselves.

  4. I would add that you never stop learning, that whatever you do prompts greater curiosity and the confidence to ask questions and find out a little bit more, then on and on and on.
    keeps the mind active, while the body is busy.

    • Yes, that is very true, well said. A garden does bring with it much curiosity and also presents some very interesting problems, sometimes, which keeps the mind ticking over very nicely 😉

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