How to grow-your-own in just six inches of space

The Greenredeem team have been keeping each other entertained over the last few months of lockdown by sharing this season’s grow-your-own progress.

While some of us are lucky enough to have big gardens and thriving allotments to play with, other colleagues have had to make do with a sunny windowsill, hanging basket or pots in a sheltered corner of a patio.

Know what? No matter the size of the crop, we still get a kick out of eating something we’ve grown ourselves!

If you’d like to join us but aren’t ready to make a big investment of time or space, here are our quickest ways to cultivate food in the tiniest of spaces, using containers you can likely find in your recycling box…

Trimmed down spring onions in a glass jar half-filled with water, sitting on a windowsill
Spring onions in glass jars

Did you know that you can regrow spring onions from the scraps? They’re known as a “cut and come again” vegetable.

Next time you get a bunch of spring onions, instead of putting them in the fridge, pop them in a jar filled with an inch of water. When you come to use them, simply snip off the green part level with the top of the jar, leaving the base in the jar. The roots will get busy growing more leaves!

Change the water every few days and you’ll have an endlessly replenishing supply of spring onions all summer long.

Inch long cress plants, densely sown, growing in soil in a green plastic food tray
Cress in a used plastic food tray

Cress is seen as a bit of a joke, but each cress sprout is a very grown-up powerhouse of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals such as iron, folic acid and potassium.

Grab a shallow plastic food tray or low-rise tin from your recycling and clean it out well. Line the base with wetted kitchen roll or cotton wool and sprinkle a thin layer of cress seeds over the surface. Pop onto a warm windowsill. So long as you keep the lining material damp, your seeds should germinate within a couple of days.

Harvest the cress sprouts once they reach measure about 5cm tall, usually about a week later. Toss into salads, add to your sandwiches or use as a vitamin-boosting garnish.

Four purple basil plants growing in soil in disposable plastic drinks cups, sitting on a windowsill
Basil and other tender herbs in plastic cups

Yoghurt pots, those disposable water cups or chopped-down plastic milk bottles make for perfectly serviceable containers for a mini kitchen garden on your windowsill.

Herbs that might otherwise feel the chill or be subject to the damaging attentions of slugs and snails will thrive in a bright spot indoors, with reliable sun for at least six hours a day.  Choose herbs that don’t grow too wide or tall, such as chives, basil (purple variety pictured), parsley and thyme.

Make sure your pots have plenty of drainage holes so you don’t accidentally drown the poor plants. Give them a regular flush and feed during growing season, and you’ll be harvesting fresh herbs well into the autumn.

Different types of sprouted seeds and pulses, pictured in glass jars with muslin fixed around the top
Sprouts in a jam jar

Another flavourful, crunchy and nutrition-packed food to grow at home are sprouts. Follow our sprouting guide from a past Greener Living blog post and you’ll be tucking into these superfoods in just a few days.

Support your local garden centre

To cut out the wait of growing from seed and get a head start on this summer’s mini-windowsill-garden, check out the pre-grown herbs, fruit and vegetable plants available at your local garden centre. Newly reopened, they’re desperately in need of our business, so let’s lend them our support.

Are you growing your own this summer? Do share your progress with us on Facebook and Twitter!

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