Hints & Tips
Memories of 1970s TV sitcom The Good Life were recalled recently when actor Richard Briers died. He starred alongside Felicity Kendal in a show featuring a couple who quit the rat race and decide to turn their suburban home into a self-sufficient farm.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, author of the Big Book of Garden Hens Francine Raymond said this had struck a chord with many who live in towns and cities, remarking: "I believe we all harbour a deep longing to produce our own food: grow veg and fruit, keep hens and bees. And the more urban we are, the deeper the longing."
She noted many think just this way and said a book by Sunday Telegraph columnist Alex Mitchell, The Rurbanite, offers good examples of how people can grow their own produce, even with only a little space. This can include using windowsills to grow small vegetables like coriander, beetroot and chard, or fruit such as strawberries and tomatoes.
Of course, a greenhouse can help, as can having a vegetable patch in the garden. This need not take up the whole space – a lawn can be retained – but the use of a bit of land for a bit of grow-your-own can bring a sense of joy and achievement, as well as the knowledge that at least some meals are coming from organic sources with extremely low carbon footprints.
To help vegetables and other plants grow, a bit of compost will go a long way. While there are products that can be bought from the garden centre, a good composter can help turn organic waste into useful fertiliser.
Mowdirect's Al-Ko K390 Composter is designed to greatly speed up the process of decomposition. Priced at £89, this product is made from recycled plastic, while another key feature is its heavy-duty insulation, which helps maintain an optimised temperature inside.
A separate Daily Telegraph report noted there appears to be an increasing desire by developers to concrete over allotments, with National Society for Allotment Gardeners spokeswoman Georgie Willock telling the paper the number of calls the organisation has received over the issue has soared recently.
This may mean there is less opportunity to grow fruit and veg away from one's own garden. For people obliged to turn to their own back yard, therefore, having a good composter and everything else in place may be increasingly important.