Here at Growing the Future, we love getting feedback from our course participants. Emma from Foodoof wrote this great piece following her participation on our Success with Seeds Course on Thursday, July 12th. Diolch o galon, Emma!
When it comes to gardening, I am all thumbs, and not the green kind. But today I attended a ‘Success with Seeds’ course held at the National Botanic Garden of Wales given by Neil Barry – Royal Botanic Garden / RHS Diploma. Neil has inspired me to try my hand (thumbs and all) at backyard vegetable gardening. The Course details the challenges and joys Neil has experienced, while also looking at seed propagation, storage and preparation. Green house gardening, herbs, wild flowers and much more. Full of useful and practical tips on how to succeed with your seeds and start you on your way to an abundant garden no matter whether you’re just starting out or a professional and how they can improve health.
The course had many helpful hints for starting your own vegetable garden, as well as a school or community garden. Along with the how-to information about seed spacing, irrigation, soil types, and the right time to plant various vegetables, Neil also discussed the ‘Growing the Future’ initiative and the plan for the future of gardening. In addition to getting more physical activity, so the thinking goes, eating more food harvested from the ground and less from packages can help kids — and adults — become healthy or stay that way.
Backyard gardening can inspire you to take an interest in the origins of your food and make better choices about what you put on your plate, When you grow your own food, you savour it more because of the effort it took to get to the table.
Growing your own food has many health benefits:
It helps you eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.
You decide what kinds of fertilizers and pesticides come in contact with your food.
It lets you control when to harvest your food. Vegetables that ripen in the garden have more nutrients than some store-bought vegetables that must be picked early.
Growing your own food isn’t rocket science. “Growing food is very simple,” says Neil Barry “It takes a little time, but things like tomatoes, lettuce, peppers — basic kitchen crops — are very forgiving. Really, anyone can learn to grow food pretty easily.”
If you’re interested in growing food in your backyard, Neil offers these tips:
Start small and plant things you’d really like to eat.
Pick a spot with at least 6 hours of good daytime light and access to water.
Use contaminant-free soil.
Consider using a raised garden bed, which allows you to control the soil and nutrient blend.
Talk to farmers or other backyard gardeners in your area to get a sense of what grows well in your region and when.
If you don’t have space for a garden at home, a community garden is another option. You can find one in your community through your local Community Gardening Association.
There are also many, many courses held at the National Botanical Garden of Wales, it’s worth looking into as they connect you with an endless supply of information, advice and great people.
You will certainly be amazed by how much fun gardening can be, and the pride you take in sharing healthy food nurtured by your own efforts, I really hope that people will develop more interest in learning about their food choices, and how to prepare fresh, healthy food at home.
Be patient as you cultivate your relationship with your garden and the Earth. Before long, you’ll reap the benefits. You may even see a little tinge of green on those thumbs.
- Growing the Future at the National Botanic Garden of Wales is an exciting project which aims to champion Welsh horticulture, highlight plants for pollinators, protect wildlife and extol the virtues of growing plants for food, health and well-being. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener, a fledgling grower or budding beekeeper, we want to help provide training, information and support to you.
- Growing the Future at the National Botanic Garden of Wales is part of the Welsh Government Rural Communities-Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the Welsh Government and the European Union.