• Stephi Durand

Why I Grow My Own Food

"Almost half of UK households grew their own fruit, vegetables or herbs last year, a study has found. New research from Weleda reveals 26.7 million Britons grew their own fruit, veg and herbs in the last year – with 7.4 million trying it for the first time during the pandemic."

-Wales Online

Toilet rolls are filled with soil. Six of these toilet rolls have peas sprouting from the soil. They look strong and healthy
Peas Sprouting in The Greenhouse

After the last two years we've lived through, it makes sense to start growing your own produce. Plenty of people within the UK did it before the pandemic, yet as the quote states, 7.4 million people started for the first time ever.

If you've seen my other posts, you'll know that I used to grow fruit and veg with my family as a kid. It wasn't until 2020 that I stumbled back into the world of gardening. Now, I'm starting my second year properly growing food in the garden for myself and my family.

Last year had its successes and failures. This year, I'm doubling my plans with the intent to grow much more produce that we can eat and preserve.

But why do I want to grow my own food?

While I may have given one reason away above, there's a nice mix of reasons why I want to grow my own food.

For The Flavour

If you didn't already know, homegrown food tastes far superior to anything you could buy in your local supermarkets. When I grew sweetcorn last year, while I didn't get much corn on the cob to eat, the ones we did were phenomenal. We bought fresh, still wrapped corn on the cobs from the supermarket not long after and they were so bland in comparison. I need fresh, homegrown produce in my life.

If you've seen my post on how to dehydrate basil you'll know that I haven't had to buy any from the shops in about a year now. I also refuse to go back. Basil that I've dehydrated myself tastes amazing and enhances my cooking to another level. I enjoyed the basil so much I gifted several spice jars to friends and family to enjoy, promising them free top-ups when they need it.

To Try New Food

Growing up, I was a fussy eater. Now that I'm in my early twenties I've been working to slowly expand my taste. This is mostly in the vegetable department.

Personally, trying one thing at a time works best. I'll have something with other foods I enjoy so I don't overdo it or risk not liking too much at once. It's easy for me to feel overwhelmed when trying something new — especially when I spent years thinking I wouldn't like it. (Or shouldn't — thanks cartoons)

I also find myself more open to trying something if I grow it. This is down to two reasons:

1- Homegrown taste is superior

2- I grew it. It'd feel like a waste to not try it.

Take this year as an example. I'm growing radishes and beetroot for my fiancé. He likes them but I'm not so sure. I tried radishes when I was a kid but didn't like them and I've never tried beetroot. If I don't like them, hey, my partner and his family do. If I do enjoy them, healthier food for me to eat!

To Learn New Skills

Through growing my own food, I'm learning how to care for plants; how to save and store seeds to grow in the following years. It also gives me the opportunity to learn how to preserve things. So far I've taught myself to dehydrate herbs and leeks. In 2020 I made sourdough and this year I'm going to learn water bath canning, make my own kimchi and hopefully how to store potatoes for the colder months.

Scratch Cooking

In the last year or so, I've become hooked on having more homecooked meals. I'm doing what I can to avoid ready meals from the supermarket and instead batch cooking food I can freeze portions for future use. While cooking from scratch, I love the thought of being able to say I made a meal that included a high number of ingredients I produced myself.

Scratch cooking can be easy and simple. I love making my own pizzas and even vanilla extract to bake with!

Food Stability

While I don't think my family are going to go without food anytime in the near or far future, I don't like what I've seen in the last few years. People strip shelves when panic buying, only to throw most of it away later on. Prices rising on products isn't appealing either.

Either way, I don't like what I see and as someone who would definitely call themselves frugal, I'll happily invest in my garden and the soil's health to get us plenty of great tasting food which can be preserved to last until the next growing season.

Plus, depending on the plants, it can save money.

Knowing I have the basic skills to provide food for us is such a rewarding feeling. And as it links to my other interests — cooking, baking, fermenting, etc — then it confirms I should be doing it.

Everyone who grows food does it for their own reason. Are any of my reasons the same as yours? Or do you have something different to motivate you? I'd love to hear it in the comments!

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