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Food Waste Avoidance 6 - Grow Your Own Food

Benefits of a garden:

A garden is a fantastic storage method – it keeps food fresh and delicious, and helps you to cook with the seasons. When growing your own food, you can be sure of what is in the food (i.e. no chemicals). Growing your own food reduces waste – as you only use what you need each time – and save the hip pocket. Getting out in the garden is also great for your Vitamin D levels! (sunshine)

Leafy GreensHerbs and leafy greens are a great place to start when learning to grow your own food. They are very easy to grow and can jazz up your cooking. Since you only need a small amount at a time, growing your own herbs and leafy greens can save you money as you won’t need to repeatedly buy them from the supermarket.

Tips for growing leafy greens:

Lettuce (just one type of leafy green) offer a range of shapes, sizes and colours but they are all easy to grow. Choose a variety marked on the seed packet as suitable for the time of year as some do badly in the very hot months.

Try to provide some shade to prevent them 'bolting' to flower and seed in the hottest months. Lettuce are shallow rooted so water daily in hot or dry weather to prevent bitter flavour and bolting (going to seed).

Try to regularly harvest the young leaves as they will not be bitter.

Nutritional benefits:
A one-cup cooked serving of most greens contains lots of iron and calcium, several B vitamins, more vitamin C than an orange, nearly a full day's supply of vitamin A ... and less than 20 calories!

Tips for growing herbs:

Herbs need sunlight, good drainage and regular water during dry weather. Most prefer good soil, but don’t be tempted to add too much compost or manure, as you’ll get rapid growth at the expense of flavour.

Continually harvest herbs to keep them trim and shapely. When it comes to thyme, mint, sage and lemon balm, regular pruning – by shortening the stems by more than half – will rejuvenate your herbs when they’re looking tired.

When the weather becomes cooler, annual herbs, such as basil, coriander and dill, will begin to flower and set seed. Never fear, once mature, these seeds can be collected by hand, then stored in paper bags in a cool, dry spot until next spring, when you can sow them and start the cycle all over again.

Frost-sensitive herbs like rosemary should be brought into warm spots, while herbs such as parsley, sage and thyme will carry on through the winter cold.
What to plant when.
  • Annual - Plants that perform their entire life cycle from seed to flower to seed within a single growing season.
  • Perennial – Plants that persist for many growing seasons.
  • Biennial – Plants which require two years to complete their life cycle.
  • Companion planting – some plants can enhance the productivity of others by keeping away certain pests, etc.
Read more here: – a fantastic resource on what to grow in the temperate regions of Australia (like Melbourne!).


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