With lockdown restrictions lifting and time-consuming viral food trends of DIY Dalgona (whipped) coffee, banana bread and sourdough quickly becoming something of a memory, new research reveals it’s the ‘grow your own’ trend that’s actually here to stay. We talk to David Domoney about his favourite gardening tips.
New research from Miracle-Gro (www.lovethegarden.com) has shown that, whilst 39% of Brits have enjoyed baking up a storm in the kitchen, nearly three quarters (74.6%) of us have been gardening more than usual this summer.
A combination of wanting to spend more time with family, getting outside to enjoy the sunshine and enjoying some exercise has all been satisfied by green-fingered growers.
Moreover, it’s the lockdown activity that has bought us the most pride. Over a quarter of Brits have found gardening to be the most satisfying hobby in these unprecedented times, and over a quarter (27%) have vowed to continue growing beyond lockdown.
Driven by a desire to eat homegrown produce (48%), live a healthier lifestyle (47%), and be more self-sufficient, (38%), over 60% of us have been growing our own fruit and veg. A burgeoning food trend in itself, over half (53.4%) of fruit and veg growers have rated taste as the key success factor, and more still (67.8%) look forward to adding the fruits of their labour to recipes after harvesting.
GROWING DEMAND FOR ORGANIC PRODUCE
When it comes to choosing vegetable seeds, most people look for the easiest and tastiest produce to grow, followed by how healthy they are and what’s fast growing. What’s more, the research revealed that organic food is favoured by nearly two thirds of us (61.3%), yet surprisingly practiced by less than thirty per cent (29.1%) of growers.
To offer advice for eager organic growers, Miracle-Gro has teamed up with Charted Horticulturalist and TV Gardener David Domoney to provide you with tips, tricks and an easy-to-follow guide to growing your own organic fruit and veg at home.
DAVID DOMONEY’S TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO GROW ORGANIC FRUIT AND VEG AT HOME
David comments: ‘The process of growing your own fruit and vegetables is an extremely satisfying task, and the magic of harvesting produce that you’ve grown by hand never fades.
‘Every space is suitable to grow, no matter how big or small – sowing your seeds, nurturing them, watching them grow, harvesting them and finally serving up a delicious home-grown meal to your nearest and dearest is a great experience.’ See his four top tips on how to grow organic fruit and veg at home below.
1. ORGANIC FEEDING
Feeding your plants is really important. Just like we need food and sustenance to keep our energy levels up, our plants need that too in the form of key nutrients such as nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) alongside other trace minerals. High feeders such as tomatoes, courgettes and cabbage will thrive with feeding once a week, whereas carrots and onions, which are low feeders will happily grow with one feed every two to three weeks. Miracle-Gro’s Performance Organics offers a vast range of fruit and veg food and products designed for organic growing.
2. BIG GARDENS WITH BIG POTENTIAL
With larger gardens, you may be able to incorporate bigger vegetable plots. Raised beds are very popular for planting fruit and vegetables as they are great for drainage. If the soil in your garden isn’t the perfect fit, this also allows you to incorporate the right soil for what you’d like to grow. I’d recommend prepping your soil with an organic compost and feeding regularly with organic plant food for best results.
3. PATIO PARADISE
If you have a small courtyard or patio area, you don’t need to compromise on growing your own produce. Organic compost grow bags are a perfect solution, such as the Miracle-Gro Performance Organics Fruit & Veg Planter. Simply cut along the dotted lines and you’ll be able to fit two plants into each planter. Once the crops are planted and watered in, all you need to do is keep them watered, as the grow bag feeds the plants for three months!
For smaller enclosed spaces, you can also grow upwards using your walls or fences. Espalier trees are both decorative and functional, and will produce delicious fruit, such as apples and pears. To help trees produce their delicious fruit, most of them need high amounts of potassium which will aid development of buds and fruit. So, feeding in late winter or early spring with organic plant food is good preparation for growing season, alongside mulching in late-spring with organic matter to help to retain nutrients and moisture.
4. WINDOWSILLS WORK WONDERS
It’s not just those with outside space who can grow their own fruit and vegetables – anyone with even just a single sunny windowsill can get growing. Herb gardens and even tomato plants can thrive in pots by the window. Simply fill the pots with a good organic compost and feed every two to three weeks.