Grow your own Food

Audrey's "Grow Your Own" Blog

At the risk of sounding smug I am keeping to my New Year resolution to reduce my carbon foot print by eating more food that I grow myself. Despite those sub zero temperatures earlier in January I have with just water, warmth, air and a few jars above the kitchen radiator managed to get a very good crop of sprouting mung, aduki, alfalfa, chick peas and green lentil seeds.

Adding them to soups, stir fries and salads has proved a really fun way to get at least one of my 'five a day' of very fresh veg.

On the kitchen window sill a few smiling egg shell and jars have given me the first green shoots of an early spring with watercress, mustard and cress. it impossible not to smile back to them. Super family talking point for all and certainly provides the easiest way possible of being green.

To quote that' in' phase of the time "Yes You Can" now is the time for you too join in.

Even if you have a bad back, no garden or have never grown anything before, stir yourself into getting some seeds and become a sprouter.

The allotment is still providing leeks, sprouts and parsnip and with the stored onions and frozen fruit from last year I have eaten some thing home grown most days but it proves very difficult if I am traveling. I did hear some dedicated sprouters takes seeds in a toilet bag wherever they go!

I wonder if Stirrer readers realise that here in Birmingham and the Black country we have more opportunity than other parts of the country to take on an allotment.. The vast majority of vacancies(over a 1,000 at the moment) exist in the south east - Bordesley Green, Stechford, Hodge Hill and certain sites in Erdington - the west of the City is virtually fully let, as is Sutton Coldfield which has extensive waiting lists!

There are lots of health and well being reasons why Birmingham City Council should encourage more residents to take up these vacant plots. Perhaps we need a Stirrer campaign to increase the plots used by the end of 2009?
I have a few ideas on how it could be done but it would be fun to get your comments on the Forum.

The most significant step would be to half the size of the plot and allow a mentoring scheme so that those with know how can share experience with the new comers. I am grateful to the comments on the last blog for example when I mentioned the 'No Dig method'. a local gardeners who had used it for many years gave me some very helpful tips.

I have now bought my seeds for 2009 from Rathbone garden centre where I found the best selection of seed potatoes and vegetable seeds. Its great to be able to support such a worthwhile local charity garden shop. As we move further into the growing season you will find more and more super markets stocking vegetable seeds. 2008 saw vegetable seed sales out pace flower seeds for the first time.

There is even a campaign to get the VAT from seeds removed. Everything - even growing your own - is political it would seem!

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