Grow your own to reduce your carbon footprint
As we continue our year-long focus on the small changes we can all make to become more sustainable, the warmer months provide a great opportunity to make long-term changes to our lifestyle.
One change that could be good for the planet and the wallet, is trying your hand at growing your own fruit, vegetables and herbs. For the experienced gardeners, it’s something you’re probably already doing – but for those who don’t often pick up a trowel, we’ve shared some helpful tips, which could help reduce your carbon footprint.
Growing your own produce
The supply chain that’s needed to ensure fresh fruit and vegetables are always on the shelves in your local supermarket unavoidably creates a carbon footprint. Whilst more is now being done by supermarkets and their logistics providers to reduce this environmental impact, switching to growing your own in a bid to become less reliant on supermarket produce, can be a great alternative.
Make produce patches in your garden
By making a dedicated space in your garden to grow produce, you’ll have a good supply of fruit, vegetables and herbs just outside your kitchen window. When you’re planning out your new produce patch though, think about volume – how much of each would you typically eat in a week and how long will the produce take to grow?
A good place to start is with hearty produce that’s easy to grow, such as potatoes, carrots and courgettes. These types of vegetables are reasonably low maintenance.
Rent a nearby allotment
This week is National Allotments Week, which serves as a great reminder that most towns and cities have dedicated spaces to grow your own, that can usually be rented through the local council. Making them a great option if you don’t have a garden of your own, or you want to grow more than your garden can accommodate.
Prices tend to vary by region, but the annual charge can often be around £50-100, and due to their popularity there can sometimes be a waiting list. If you’re interested in getting more involved in growing your own, then you’ll usually find a great sense of community down on the allotment – with people swapping and sharing what they grow. So a visit to your local council’s website to look further into how their allotments operate, is a great starting point.
Grow on your window
If you don’t have a garden, and can’t give the time needed to tend to an allotment, then you can still grow produce such as salad leaves in a window box. Whilst herbs are also a great option for growing on your window ledge.
This short video from the Royal Horticultural Society shows how a window box means you can even enjoy homegrown salad in the winter months.
Eating by the season
Traditionally, long before importing from overseas became cost-effective, people always ate produce by the season. Growing your own means you can benefit from the seasonality of fresh produce, meaning hearty stews in the winter months and light salads in the summer.
If you’re interested in getting started, then the Royal Horticultural Society have a handy guide on what you should be doing each month to help your produce thrive.
The environmental benefits of growing your own
As well as helping to reduce your carbon footprint, growing your own fruit, vegetables and herbs can have a positive impact on local wildlife.
During National Allotment Week, allotment owners are being encouraged to count the insects that visit their patch. That’s because plants attract creatures all great and small, who all play an important part in maintaining a balanced ecosystem. From worms to woodlouse and bees, a well planted allotment bed can provide a great home to insects.
Find out more
To find out more about how we’re reducing our impact on the planet, click on the link below.