5. Grow something you can eat
For task number five, we encourage you to grow some food for your own table. Nothing tastes better than fruit and vegetables you have witnessed emerging from your home soil or a container on a sunny windowsill of your apartment.
My Dad has demonstrated this for years. One of the joys of my youth was picking sour cherries, in the heavy rain showers that happened at that time of the summer, and popping them straight into my mouth. Now my nine year old nephew picks pea pods fresh off Gramps’ bamboo poles, popping the peas in his mouth and handing the pods to our dog.
You are not expected to become self-sufficient in a week! For this task, even sprouting some beans will suffice. Or why not plant some rhubarb and leave it to the healthy neglect that ours seems to enjoy?
Horticulturist and environmentalist Aoife Munn has some great tips for your first foray into growing food:
- Fill a window box with peat-free compost and sprinkle lettuce seed on it sparingly. Lettuce grows all year round in Ireland. It is a “cut and come again” crop, meaning you can harvest just what you need for your salad and the plant will keep growing. This is a great way to avoid food waste, as most people end up throwing away half the lettuce they buy in the shop.
- Plant peas and Asian salad seeds in seed trays on your windowsill. Snip off the young shoots after 2 - 3 weeks of growing, and eat them as delicious, nutritious, trendy microgreens.
For (imaginary) bonus points, I challenge you to grow something that wildlife can also eat. How do we find the balance between providing food for ourselves and for the insects? What is your interpretation of this?
Not everyone has access to the land and resources necessary to grow their own food, but a shift towards buying or gifting local, agroecologically produced food can also make a delicious contribution to the battle against climate change, biodiversity loss and soil degradation. Dig in at your local community garden, or order your vegetables from a Community Supported Agriculture scheme.
Grow it Yourself Ireland are a non-profit social enterprise helping people grow food and learn about food sustainability.