Nutrition

Staying away from shops? Michael Kelly’s seven tips for starting to grow your own food

1. Get started

The first and best piece of advice is this: just start. Don’t wait until next month or next year. You don’t need green fingers (they are a myth) or a degree in Latin. Don’t be afraid. Get yourself some seeds and put them in some soil. The good news is that all seeds want to grow, and they already know how to do it and what they want to become. So more than likely, with just sunlight and water, they will grow. Sowing a seed is an act of profound optimism, and your attitude should be no different.

2. Get the basics

On a basic level all you need are seeds and something to grow them in. That means some good compost and something to put the compost in. For smaller-scale growing that could be seed trays, pots, containers or even an upcycled colander or an old pair of wellies. You should be able to get everything you need at your supermarket or you can order them online. At GIY we’ve put all these basics together in our Growbox starter kit collection.

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GIY: a timber raised bed is easy to build yourself with some DIY skills, or buy a flat-pack bed online and assemble the frame yourself; Michael Kelly with this Grow Cook Eat cohost Karen O’Donohoe
GIY: a timber raised bed is easy to build yourself with some DIY skills, or buy a flat-pack bed online and assemble the frame yourself; Michael Kelly with this Grow Cook Eat cohost Karen O’Donohoe

3. Get a bed

On a slightly bigger scale, clear some space in your back garden for a timber raised bed. They are easy to build yourself with some DIY skills, or buy a flat-pack bed online and assemble the frame yourself. A raised bed is an ingenious cheat that allows you to create 30cm or more of good-quality topsoil above your existing soil. Raised beds can be any size and shape you want, but they should never be more than 1m wide, so you can reach the centre from both sides. Never stand on the soil. If you’re ambitious enough for this you might need to buy some basic tools: a trowel, spade, fork, hoe and rake.

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