Grow food – you need places to grow

If you want to grow food, obviously you need places to grow stuff

This can be harder than you think because, let’s suggest you live in a high rise flat, where you going to grow, you are lucky to have a balcony. But you can start with what you do have, on a really small scale, obviously. The windowsill is a great place for growing tomatoes and peppers, and I wonder if it is a coincidence that a growbag is about a window’s width. You can grow peppers in the same way. But this isn’t self-sufficiency, it won’t keep you alive, but is great fun and you can get great tomatoes and / or peppers. You can do much the same with garlic in pots, too. Actually there are lots of things you can have a go at.

A yard is obviously a bit more room, and you can grow a lot of salad stuff, assuming the sun is shining in the right places. Again – crops in pots is really cool, easy to manage and something of an experiment with some. Cabbages in pots, for example, grow tall with funny leaves. But they are still cabbage leaves and just as tasty.

Try shallots, spring onions in pots, they work a treat. Peas do well and garlic all over the place, either individually in small pots or a few in a larger one.

There is a great movement these days for housing associations to have a growing element to their social policy. They own a lot of land and usually, if you approach them to allow them to start a community garden, they will be very interested.

One such housing association doing this is Real Food Wythenshawe, in Manchester. They have a number of gardens for people to get involved in growing food, and there are a number around the country. Have a look at their website:

Clearly, the more land you have the better it is for you, and so many people already know that fresh is best and growing your own beats supermarket food. But it takes one thing: confidence.

It’s not about knowledge, the know how is all over the internet, and besides, you stick a plant in the ground and it wants to grow! After all, how did we go on 10 000 years ago when (as far as they know) we started growing plants in the first place?

Another possible expansion of space for growing could come from Incredible Edibles, which is a movement, now worldwide, who have agreements with councils to grow food on various bits of land not in use. They are a friendly lot, and really worth a look in. Visit their website:


Of course we still have a strong allotment culture in this country to grow food, diminished as it is by modern times. It is really worth joining your local society even if there are no plots available. It will cost a few bob a year, but not much, and you will be able to buy from the shop, and you will be more likely to get a plot as they become available. Moreover, if you are a friendly type and chat to people you are likely to get some free produce too!

Gorilla gardening

There is no reason why you can’t pop growbags and pots in out of the way places, making sure dogs and cats can’t pee on them and they won’t get in the way of the public. I have grown food along paths, in fields and even in parks this way.

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