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Top tips for growing your own produce for National Growing for Wellbeing Week

A lady doing the tree pose, also known as the Vrksasana, in a rural setting

It’s that time of the year again where we’re celebrating National Growing for Wellbeing Week; it’s a fantastic way to see and feel the benefits of growing your own produce and what it can do for your wellbeing, both physically and mentally.

Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience mental ill health each year

There’s strong evidence highlighting the benefit of gardening, growing your own produce and being outdoors. So why not get involved and see what masterpieces you could grow, after all, who doesn’t like home-grown food.

To further support National Growing for Wellbeing Week, 3rd – 9th June, many garden centres and gardening brands will be running one-off events and are offering exclusive discounts to encourage you to get outdoors and grow. So why not pop along and see what’s going on.

And to get you started, we’ve teamed up with Herts & Essex Community Farm, winners of the 2017 Calor Rural Community Fund, to give you some top tips on growing your own produce.

Take a read and start planning your masterpiece

  1. If the land is overgrown and hasn’t been worked for crops recently, don’t try to dig it all over at once. It’s better to work on a patch of 8ft by 8ft at a time, taking care to dig it over and clear any weeds and brambles properly.
  2. Dig carefully. Break up the first layer of soil and continue chopping it in to small pieces. Go over it a few times, trying to continuously increase the depth.
  3. Always plan what you’d like to grow; would you prefer fresh cabbages, vibrant radishes or wholesome potatoes? This is a must as you’ll need to consider where the sun rises and sets, how much space each crop will take up and how often your crops will need watering. After all, the more you can grow, the better.
  4. Once you’ve planted your crops, regularly check for pests such as: slugs, snails and green, white and black fly as these can damage your crops. Companion planting and using marigold plants can help reduce the green, white and black fly. Try placing beer traps, orange peel and crushed egg shells around the base of your plants to deter slugs and snails.
  5. Always try to use organic fertilisers and feeds for the plants, as these prevent anything unwanted getting into the food chain.
  6. The main thing to remember when growing vegetables is that it won’t be the perfect season all year round for every crop. We grow such a variety of food in the UK, all of which seem to grow better in different types of environments, so be mindful of the locations you choose when planting. For example, if you want to grow salad crops like tomatoes and cucumbers, they really love the heat so are best grown in a very sheltered spot or a green house.
  7. Never water any crop in the midday sun. If possible water very early in the morning, as you’re less likely to attract slugs and snails to the wet ground. If this isn’t possible then water in the evening, remembering to water the ground under the plant and not the leaves, as this can cause them to burn in the long summer days.
  8. One final recommendation is to start your crop planting on a small scale. Get used to the crops, the environments in which they live and the care they need to grow to their full potential. Gradually build it up as your knowledge grows. It’s such a lovely way to receive a natural reward.

How you can get involved

Use #NationalGYOWellbeingWeek on social media or visit Life at No. 27's website.