Looking to grow your own food? Becoming self-sufficient is hugely popular right now, with food supply a concern due to the pandemic. But you may be wondering how and what’s the easiest way to grow your own food at home, especially if you live in an apartment. Here’s what to know…
The best care we can give ourselves right now is to stay healthy and an important part of that is eating meals that are wholesome and nutritious. Fresh organic food is part of that and one way to get it is to grow it yourself. The advantages are: you know exactly what chemicals you’ve applied and you can’t get any fresher than picking it yourself. And, it’s a way of cutting grocery bills.
How can I grow my own food at home?
To grow your own food at home, you first need a growing space, preferably one that gets sunlight. Sunlight is one of the three basics needed to grow food and a spot that gets about 6 – 8 hours of sunlight is best.
The other basics are the essential nutrients and water. So as long as you can give the plants these three, you can grow your own produce anywhere.
The three basics of growing plants
What love should you give your plants? To grow, plants need these three basic requirements…
- Essential nutrients
Anybody can grow their own food at home as long as they have the growing space and these three basics for the plants to grow.
You might ask, what about soil? No doubt, productive soil is an excellent medium in which to grow food. But growing your vegetables, salad greens and herbs doesn’t necessarily mean you need soil. Hydroponics is a method of growing food that involves only water and essential nutrients.
Container growing of food
For container growing of vegetables, look for a premium potting mix, which will generally contain all the essential nutrients to give the plants a good start. As the plants grow, you will need to give them a feed of nutrients. The easiest way to do this is via slow-release fertilizer. You can get a type that’s suited to veggies and salad greens.
Another tip with containers is to add a saucer beneath the pot to collect the runoff water so it does not ruin the flooring underneath. It also serves as a reservoir of water for the plant to use.
How to water
Where people fail the most is with regards to watering.
You can kill a plant with too much water as well as not enough. With practice, you’ll get to know the right amount of water.
When uncertain, I use the finger test to see how dry the soil is. For this, simply put your forefinger about an inch into the soil and if the soil is dry, water your plant.
The amount of watering a plant needs will depend on the soil, the plant itself and environmental conditions, such as air temperature, humidity and wind. Gardening Australia has some tips about when to water.
Growing food in an apartment
If I live in an apartment, how can I grow my own food? There are a few approaches you can take to increase your fresh food supply. These range from growing microgreens on the bench and herbs on the window sill to a hydroponic setup and pots on the patio.
Grow kits for microgreens and herbs make it easy to set up mini-gardens for fresh greens – you can get grow kits online – see below.
You can set up a hydroponic garden indoors with a means of artificial lighting if natural light is unavailable.
If your apartment has a patio that gets sunlight during the day, you can grow your food in pots on the patio.
How to grow food on the balcony
The size of the area that gets sufficient sunlight will determine the size and number of containers you can use.
Make sure to use premium potting mix as it usually has the good nutrients for the productive growth of your plants.
Mark from Self Sufficient Me explains more on successfully growing food on a balcony …
Easiest way to grow your own food
Grow kits would have to be one of the easiest ways to grow food at home, especially for the beginner. They come with everything you need.
Home grow kits
For the easiest way of growing your own, grow kits are one answer.
Hydroponic kits are available online. Mr Fothergill’s all-in-one grow kits are a good example.
As an indoor food growing solution, these kits contain all that you need to grow your fresh food supply at home and are especially good if you live in an apartment.
The HydroGarden is set up to give you the right amount of light, water and nutrients. All you have to do is plug it in, add water, sow the seeds and see the action happen! They also offer an optional heat pad as a winter-growing solution.
Another top solution is the Australian-made UrbanGreens kits. These come with seeds, peat pots, growing substrate, labels, instructions and sometimes even recipes.
They include ones with everything you need in a salad to the window sill ones for growing microgreens and herbs. They’re available at Biome Eco – Check them out here!