After its dizzying heights in the 1940s, growing your own fruit and veg fell out of fashion. After all, that was something people did because they had to. Rationing was a thing through the war years and beyond, so if you wanted a few treats, you had to get your hands dirty for them.
As a result, it became a sign of sophistication to buy everything. The bad years were gone, embrace the free world of supermarkets and convenience food. Growing your own was something senior citizens did, those who still seemed convinced there was another world war around the corner.
Then, as always happens, the tables turned again. A new era of domesticity, this time linked heavily with feminism, brought gardening back on to the agenda.
It’s a lot of work, though, isn’t it? And muddy. And often cold. You know you should garden- for the environment, for your own health, even for a topic of conversation with that friend of yours who is always on about it. But life is short and summer even shorter, so who has the time to dedicate like that? You’d rather be chilling out with a nice cool drink.
Consider this a cheat sheet. How to look like a gardener, and enjoy the spoils, without half of the downsides.
Trees Are Your New Best Friends
Growing from seed takes months. You have to nourish them like they are newborn babies, plant them out at just the right time, and spend hours worrying about pests.
Trees, on the other hand, take care of themselves. They’ve been doing it for millennia, and will probably keep doing it when humans have long vanished. You don’t need to worry about seasons, or growing cycles, or preserving nutrients in the earth. Try fruits that you would usually buy in a store. You can find plum trees for sale and use them in a variety of recipes, while apples and pears are a constant favourite and grow well.
Ideal if you don’t want to do your gardening in an actual garden, succulents are easy to grow and hard to kill. They’re especially useful if you’re going to be taking trips abroad and don’t want the hassle of finding someone to water your plants. Aloe vera is an excellent choice. Not only is it happy with a little sun exposure and minimal water, you can also use its inner gel to soothe burns and skin ailments. Cacti also grow well indoors, and can head outside for some sun exposure in the warmer months.
If you’re used to buying herbs in little jars that you stack in a rack, there is another option. The main common culinary herbs are easy to grow, requiring nothing but sunlight and an occasional watering. You can usually buy young plants at supermarkets. Plant them out with plenty of space and watch a little herb garden establish itself. Rosemary, coriander, and chives are a good place to start and require minimum maintenance. They will also taste better when used in recipes, so a double bonus.
Getting back to nature and growing your own doesn’t need to be time-consuming if you don’t want it to be. Dip your toe in and try one of the above options- you never know, you might discover a new passion.
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