We are all about that sustainable lifestyle over here at Jai Yoga. Where possible we try and make swaps or find alternatives that can make our general lifestyle more eco-friendly, because it not only benefits the planet but also helps secure the future of our ethos and what we do.
I wanted to write about growing your own veggies and fruits. I am terrible at looking after plants, I am rubbish at feeding them and watering them and I’m sure I’ve seen leaves curl up on themselves and wither at the mere sight of me, and yet I still persist. I want to have my own allotment and grow my own vegetables one day (waiting lists for allotments in Bristol are insane), so I am taking all the practice I can get in my flat.
With an aim to sink into the sway of the seasons, I started researching what seeds I could sow (and not kill!) now to cultivate and love until they ripen, ready for the picking. I’m nervous but I have faith that nurturing my little plant babies from the soil up will help me on my journey to being a) a good plant mum and b) a more sustainable, less wasteful member of society.
Below I have listed veggies and fruit that you should sow in Winter and when you can expect to see all your hard work come to life:
When to expect them: late summer
These bad boys make take a little while to cook but growing your own everyday staple (at least they are in my house) could mean less trips to the shops, less plastic covering and more pride as you tuck into your hard work in August. In summer your crop could last between 1-2 months, but onions that are picked a little later can last even longer!
What you need: an outdoor space (a balcony would do), onion seeds, a plastic lidded container with ¾ drainage holes on the bottom and ½ holes in the top, finally some potting soil that especially for seed starting.
How to start:
- Pour in 3 inches of potting soil
- Spread the seeds ½ inches apart
- Sprinkle on a covering of potting soil
- Leave outside
Your onions will be happily cooking away in their plastic container, waiting until the sun and moisture levels are just right to start sprouting. You can then transfer it to your garden (or a large, deep tray with a slightly acidic soil, but to be honest they will be happy with anything.
When to expect them: these bad boys grow all year round, so as soon as the start sprouting and get a little bushier, give them a go! They are super easy to grow and you can have mature plants within 45-50 days. They taste much better when grown in winter so give ‘em a go today!
What you need: A spray bottle (this can be repurposed or bought new)
Coffee filter (to help with drainage
How to start:
- Mustard greens love a planting bed, raised bed or any container of any kind that has drainage holes, they are pretty robust. Place the planter out of direct sunlight, so no windowsills.
- Line your planter with coffee filter paper to help maintain top quality drainage.
- Mix your soil with your compost to make the happiest, most nutritional mix possible.
- Fill your planter with the mix up 1 inch lower than the rim of the planter to allow for watering space.
- Spread your seeds out across the soil, making sure you don’t push them in too deep – a couple of centimetres max.
- Spray your soil with your water filled spray bottle and keep your soil moist until your seeds start sprouting. Once they start growing up the watering to 2 inches of water per week.
- Keep checking on how they are doing, as watering becomes very important once your greens get to 1 inch tall.
- The younger leaves taste the most delicious, so you can cut these with kitchen scissors and add to a salad or can be used in a homemade mustard recipe!
When to expect them: four to six weeks after sowing should start to germinate, once germinated separate plants into pots and leave on windowsill, after a further 6 weeks they should be ready to go outside (if you planted at the time of writing, this should be mid-March time).
What you need: a sunny, sheltered, space
Seed starting mix (you can buy them here)
Planter with drainage holes
How to start:
- Fill planter with seed mix, leaving ½ inch of space
- Sow seeds 1 inch apart over surface of soil
- Press seeds into surface and leave uncovered
- Cover top with plastic wrap and put onto windowsill (south facing windowsill best)
- Feed plants once every two weeks with seedling fertilizer, using only half the amount specified. After one month, up it to the full amount.
- Once germinated, transplant into separate pots and keep on windowsill for a further six weeks. Then, transfer them to a sunny, sheltered spot, feeding them with 1 inch of water per week.
Image sourced from wikepedia.com
When to expect them: Basil can take between 8 – 14 days to germinate and a further 2 to 3 weeks to fully grow.
What you need: seeds
Clear freezer/sandwich bag and elastic band
How to start:
- Fill your pot with seed compost
- Push soil down and sow only a few seeds
- Cover with a thin layer of vermiculite
- Water gently
- Cover pot with freezer bag and secure with elastic band
- After seeds have germinated, take off bag and keep the soil damp with the spray bottle
- Once grown a little more, separate seedlings into their own 7.5cm pot and multi-purpose compost