This is the time to give food growing at home a go. For those wanting a quick win or have no access to outside space, mustard and cress are for you. No need for compost, they will even grow on kitchen towel. Simply order a packet of seeds online and get growing. This can all be done without leaving your home: a packet of cress seed is less than £2 online and will be delivered in an envelope, try Marshalls or Thompson and Morgan. Kids are often amazed at how quickly they grow and they can improve a salad or an egg sandwich.
Tomato and chilli plants grow well indoors on sunny window ledges. Seeds can be found in some food shops and hardware shops often sell compost. Alternatively there is a world of on-line ordering out there. Seed packets come with instructions. If you are growing tomato and chilli plants inside, there will be less insects, so you may want to pollinate the flowers using a cotton bud or paint brush to ensure they develop fruit. This couldn’t be easier, it simply involves sticking the implement in a few flowers and giving it a wiggle.
If you have access to outdoor space, you may want to start growing in containers. The advantage of containers is they can be placed on any surface and don’t involve digging. Containers can be anything from old wellington boots to catering tubs – what ever you have at home. Containers are ideal for leafy greens such as salad or spinach because traps for slugs can be placed around the base. They are also brilliant for potatoes, which are wise to avoid putting in raised bed because they will come back year upon year, if not removed from the ground.
If you have time on your hands and want to make a raised bed, have a look at our fact sheet. If you want to create a compost bin we have made a video. Wooden pallets are an easy way to get hold of wood just now. Take a walk along a street with shops like Victoria Road, to see if you can find any.
Start seeds off in your home by the window. Place one seed in a small pot on a tray or saucer and water daily. If you don’t have pots you can use an egg box, Tupperware or anything to hand. The best make-do pots have holes in the bottom, so they don’t become waterlogged and water can drain through to the tray.
When you have grown seedlings strong enough to deal with the Glasgow wind, you can plant outside. If you are up for making a cold frame using some old shelves and clear bubble wrap/polythene (or even an old shower curtain), you can bring on your seedlings outside in a protected place, until they are strong enough to be transferred in to a raised bed, container or dug over open ground. However this step is just for those with enthusiasm, research skills and time on their hands.
We realise you may struggle to get hold of compost (any type will do just now) however if you can, avoid using soil from the ground to fill containers and start off seeds, as the soil will probably contain slug eggs. Once you start composting, you can make your own growing medium.
Finally sit back and watch your plants grow. If you need something to read we published a newspaper about composting. Water your plants if indoors or outdoors and there is no rain. If you are not up for patrolling your growing vegetables in the evening and picking off slugs, you may want to invest in some organic slug pellets (other methods such as egg shells, coffee grounds and beer traps can be experimented with also) and sprinkle around containers outside or over raised beds.
The first step is to get hold of the seeds and compost. Once you start, you will discover all sorts of further support out there. If not now, when?
Inex on Victoria Road (near the station) sells a good range of seeds and compost, although of course stock levels variable.