Increasing your fruit and vegetable intake is always a good idea to better your health. However, the price of healthy fruit and veg has tripled, while the price of junk food like ice cream has halved. On top of this, the announcement of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union has also been forecasted to negatively affect supermarket prices.
Clearly, you need a cheaper way of getting fruit and veg into your diet. Luckily, you can always grow your own. Although there are forecasted to be 2.6 million homes without gardens by 2020, there are still plenty of grow your own options regardless of the space you’ve got. Here are some of the best.
Easy to grow wherever you are, potatoes only require minimal space, but can get a little messy. You’ll need to chit them first and then plant them in spring (March-April.) They can be harvested from June all the way through to September and can be used in virtually any dish – from potato salads in warmer weather to home-grown, homemade chips to warm your winter nights. We’ve grown them in sacks or even bins in the garden and I have to say, homegrown new potatoes just can’t be beat!
Another easily grown bit of greenery, tomatoes are actually a type of fruit. Growing them is fairly simple; you just need to fill a small pot with compost, scatter the seeds on top and then allow them to germinate. After that, you’ll need to separate the seedlings into pots and allow them to grow – sowing between February-April and harvesting in July-October. They make a great addition to any dish and if you end up with a glut, you can always make your own fresh, homemade sauce and freeze it.
Peas are simple, tasty and easy to grow. Plant some in soil in pots, sow them in trenches and then build a little support for them as they grow. You can plant them virtually any month of the year and harvest from the bottom up. The children always loved to pick and eat these straight from the pods!
As well as the cost savings, increasing the amount of fruit and veg you and your family consume have an inarguable benefit to your overall health. Vegetables contain more nutritional value than almost any other food group. They’re low in fat and calories but full of vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C, Vitamin A and are a source of dietary fibre which is essential for a healthy gut.
Eating more vegetables can help reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. While studies are conflicting on whether vegetarians and vegans live a longer life than meat eaters, it is a fact that increasing your fruit and vegetable intake can help fight off diseases and increase your overall health.
So – get yourself to a garden centre and buy some seeds. It’s time to grow your own.