10 tips to Produce more Food from your Edible Home Garden

10 tips to Produce more Food from your Edible Home Garden

Today I’m going to share with you 10 tips to grow more food from your edible home garden. These tips are so easy and you can implement them today to boost your garden’s production. No matter whether you are renting or living in an apartment.

It is no secret that we are facing a very real food security and shortage with many supermarket shelves completely empty. There has never been a better time to start growing your own food or ramp up your home gardens production. These tips will help you maximize the amount of fresh homegrown food you can produce from home. Starting NOW!

WATCH 10 tips to Produce more Food

10 tips to Produce more Food at Home

1. Trim your Herbs

Especially if they are starting to flower. Herbs such as Basil, Mint, and Thyme can all be grown in pots, and trimming the tops will promote a bigger bushier plant. When plants get hot, stressed, or are just left to just grow, they will send off flowers to produce seeds for another generation. Trimming off these seeds will let your herbs know that it’s not time yet, and to keep producing. Just chuck the tops and seeds back in the garden and they will sprout new plants, dry or preserve your herbs, or pop the purple stems in vinegar and make a vibrant basil infusion! You can then use this to make salad dressings by mixing with a little olive oil and lemon juice.

2. Regularly Plant “quick-to-grow” Crops

Quick-growing crops are great to continuously interplant in your garden to get quick wins. Edible plants such as Radish and Rocket are super quick to germinate and grow. Plant radish in the gaps of your garden for quick and easy food production. Radish is ready from seed to table in just 28 days and is one of the quickest things you can grow! Radish not only provides fresh crunchy vegetables to add to salads but you can also eat the leafy tops by making pesto or chimichurri. If you are not a fan of the spicey radish, then try them with your roast veggies! So sweet and delicious!

3. Succession Planting

A little planning goes a long way in an edible home garden. If you know your veggies will be finishing up soon, plant new seeds to have seedlings ready to go. You can plant your new seedling out before you have pulled out the old ones so that you can transition straight away and prevent empty spaces from going to waste without producing food. I also like to grow different varieties so I plant each type two weeks apart to help stagger the crops.

4. Hand Pollinate

In an ideal world we will have lots of bees and pollinators in our home gardens to do the work for us. This isn’t always the case, especially if you live in an apartment or your gardens are new. Hand-pollinating can help ensure more of your fruit and veggies are pollinated and set to form full-sized fruit. We definitely want to encourage bees and pollinators by planting flowers but hand-pollinating can be an added insurance. This works best on plants such as Melon, Squash, Zucchini, and Pumpkin. Click here for more info on how to hand pollinate.

5. Feed your Plants

Whether you make homemade compost teas, worm wee, fresh compost, dried Banana Peel, compost manure, or use organic liquid seaweed. Regularly feeding your plants 1-2 times per month can accelerate the growth and boost the health of your soil.

6. Harvest Crops Regularly

Your plant’s main goal is actually not to make delicious food to feed us humans… but to produce seeds to secure its future generation. If the plant feels it has enough fruit or vegetables produced with seeds it will slow or stop producing. Regularly picking your harvest when it is just ready will make the plant think that it has lost its seeds to predators so it will continue to produce more and more. So try not to leave things too long on the plant once they look ready. This also reduces the risk of other critters nabbing your produce first too.

7. Learn more about Root to Shoot

Conventionally 30-50%, maybe even more of the edible plants are discarded. Crops such as Beetroot leaves, Carrot tops, Brassica leaves and stems, Sweet Potato leaves, male Pumpkin or Zucchini flowers, and so much more! Learn what parts of the plant are edible and you could double the amount of food you have in your garden in a matter of hours!! I have some recipes on my blog but this is something we dive deeper into inside my membership.

8. Plant Perennials

Perennials are plants that last longer than 2 years. These may be a little slower to establish but once they do, they produce an abundance of food with just a little maintenance. These are plants such as Berries, Fruit trees, Artichoke, Asparagus, perennial Spinach varieties, Rhubarb and so much more! Having perennials in your garden will help you maintain your food supply. I also have an article on A-Z edible perennials available inside my membership.

9. Stack in Time and Space

Use the space you have in your edible home garden to grow both horizontally and vertically. This can maximize the amount of food you can grow. Having a trellis at the back of your garden or container can help create structure and expand your food production capabilities. I also let plants use my fruit trees to grow up. Whether that’s beans, tomatoes, melons, or pumpkins. Growing vertically can double the amount of food you can grow in a single space. Stacking in time is just like succession planting. Plant crops that will be starting to take off as the previous ones are finishing up. If you have a vertical crop that may produce more shade on the lower levels this can also provide a cooler climate to grow some more sun-sensitive crops such as lettuce. Especially in these hot summers.

10. Utilise Space with Container Gardens

Even if you have a large veggie patch, container gardens still have plenty of use. Container gardens are great for growing prolific plants that can be a little invasive. These are plants such as Mint, Nasturtium, and Sunchokes. Not only will you get lots of food but your precious garden space won’t be overrun with the weed-like growth of these plants. Containers are also good for maximizing the sun and shade. You can move them around during the year to follow the sun or reduce the amount of direct sunlight in summer.

Start TODAY with these 10 tips to produce more food from your edible home garden! Let me know if any of these tips sparked inspiration with you in the comments below.

18 ways to become more self-sufficient

18 ways to become more self-sufficient

I wrote this post before the current restrictions of lockdown were in place for many people but hopefully, you can still find useful information and inspiration to get you started on your journey to a more self-sufficient lifestyle.

There is no better time to start growing your own food than NOW. Creating your own food security and using your time to help create a greener world is win-win. I have always had the dream of growing my own food and living a more sustainable lifestyle and it is something that I have been continually building and working towards for years. I don’t want to be 100% self-sufficient because there are just some things I either won’t be able to grow or choose not to grow. But there are plenty of ways to supplement my homegrown food supply such as trading, swapping, and local farmers markets. I have put together (in no particular order) 18 simple ways you can start living a more self-sufficient lifestyle today.

1. Start a Herb Garden

No matter whether you have a big garden or live in a tiny apartment, growing herbs can be easy and takes up very little space. Grow in small pots, recycled containers, hanging planter or windowsill planters. If you like to use herbs it is a great first step towards self-sufficiency. And no, that does not mean buying those packed herb pots from the supermarket…. they are often grown hydroponically and then placed in the soil so they rarely survive long and don’t handle being planted out into real life. Get a packet of seeds and try growing your own πŸ™‚

2. Start a Vegetable Patch

The best way to learn how to grow vegetables is to simply start trying! Start small with either a planter box or convert one small patch of your garden or even driveway into an edible vegetable patch. You can also start by simply integrating edibles amongst your established garden. Once you start growing some things you can start expanding bit by bit. Goodbye grass πŸ™‚

3. Plant Fruit Trees

I love fruit trees because although they take a while to get going, once they do, they are abundant and don’t require as much care as vegetables. You can plant them in either a large pot or directly into the garden. I would recommend going to a local specialist fruit tree nursery so they can help you choose the best fruit tree for your location. Also, make sure you get something with fruit you actually enjoy! With the abundant produce you can then preserve, swap and trade with others!

4. Grow Base Crops

I couldn’t think what else to call them but growing crops that will feed you for longer and create a good base to fill your pantry. Crops such a Pumpkins, Potatoes, Onions, Garlic and Sweet potatoes will provide decent amounts of food that you can store and use throughout the year! A great base vegetable to feed a family.

5. Grow Soil

Composting is not only great for the fertility of your soil and the secret to AMAZING vegetables but also stops waste going to landfill. There are a whole bunch of ways to do this depending on your living situation. You can make your own compost bin out of recycled wood, find a second-hand tumbler online or purchase one. You can also simply dig a hole in the garden and bury it (be careful of attracting pests though). There are also some new ways for people with no land to connect with others that do and give them your compost scraps. Either community gardens, local Facebook groups or now in Australia there is even an app! Sharewaste

6. Save Seeds

This is just as important as growing food and will be a huge step towards your self-sufficient journey. Saving seeds helps you maintain food security knowing that you have more healthy seeds to grow next year. Save seeds from your healthiest plants that thrive in your garden. Keep them in a dry dark place.

7. Grow Community

Get your friends involved! Take them over a basket of homegrown food or preserves. Once they see your delicious fresh food they may also get inspired! Help them out with seeds, cuttings and surround yourself with like-minded people. Community gardens can be a great place to learn, get involved and even seed/ produce swap. It can be an amazing network of knowledge, especially in relation to your local climate and growing conditions. There are also some great social media forums and groups that are great for finding answers to your questions and local knowledge.

8. Shop Local

Explore your local farmer’s markets! Grab a friend and go have a browse! They are usually on a Saturday or Sunday morning and I look forward to it every week. Although I love my local farmers market (Kalamunda) every few months I like to check out other farmers markets to mix things up and find new and interesting produce. Bulk food stores have been making a come back and I am sold! Lucky for me there is a fantastic Bulk Store ( Replenish Kalamunda) right by my local farmer’s markets. So I head there straight after I have picked up some fresh veggies. They may seem daunting at first but there are always plenty of signs explaining how to do it. I also love how each product clearly states where they have come from as I try to only choose Australian products.

9. Learn to Cook from Scratch

This is a big one! Learning to cook a wide range of meals from scratch using simple ingredients is key! I mean we can all make a butter chicken right…you just get the sauce and pour it in… Ditch the sauces from the supermarket and learn to make your own. I am constantly experimenting and expanding my knowledge so I can make a wide selection of meals from the produce I grow. Try to buy vegetables that are in season and fruits and vegetables that you are planning to grow. That way you can practice and become a pro at recipes for YOUR future harvests!

10. Grow Food From Scraps

Ok, this is one of my favourites! It is so quick and easy and a lot of fun! Plus you are getting the most out of your food. Buy one get multiple free!! Cut off the ends of your farmers market vegetables such as Spring Onion, Leek, Pineapple, Sweet Potato and regrow!

11. Forage and Trade

Keep an eye out on your walks and day trips for wild or excess food. So often there are olive trees, fruit, nuts or wild apple trees going to waste. Do your research and learn how to identify plants. That way you will know what you are looking at. It is also important to be careful if things have been sprayed by the council. I would be always cautious of things such as blackberries. You may even notice a neighbours tree loaded with fruit that is going to waste on the ground. Politely ask if you can have some in exchange for some preserves or baking you make with it. They will probably be happy for it to be used!

12. Repair and Upcycle

Get the most out of your things by fixing or updating them! Even if you don’t know how, you may be able to pay someone a fraction of the cost to fix it rather than buying brand new. We often are so quick to throw out and buy new, we don’t even stop to consider if it can be fixed or repurposed. My hair straighteners and been fixed multiple times by electrician friends over the past 12 years and are still working amazingly! Recovering cushions, couches, DIY, get creative and even find a local seamstress if you don’t have access to a sewing machine.

13. Shop Second Hand

I try my best to not buy new and it is something I am continuing to work on. Most items you want can be found on Facebook market place, Gumtree (Trademe, Craigslist, etc). You can usually pick up a bargain and keep things in the loop rather than consuming more new things. You can even post in your local community groups and borrow or buy. Especially with things like appliances as many people often have them sitting in the cupboard collecting dust…Pasta maker, I’m talking about you πŸ™‚

14. Backyard Chickens

Chickens make an excellent addition to sustainable living. They provide eggs, eat leftover scraps, produce manure for fertilising your garden and can they also be incorporated into an integrated pest management system to help you keep your slugs and snails at bay. Many councils will allow backyard chickens in suburbia. Although I do not have chickens …yet (Pictured above is mums ‘Chick Inn’) my council – City of Kalamunda allows x6 backyard chickens on properties 600sqm -2000sqm.

15. Back to Basics

Bread/milk/butter/pizza dough. The age-old skill of baking your own bread is a fantastic skill to have! How amazing to just whip up a fresh loaf of bread or make your own pizza bread without the preservatives or plastic packaging. Milk is super easy and you can make delicious plastic, preservative-free milk whenever you want! Whether that’s oat, rice or almond milk.

16. Learn to Preserve Harvests

I am not really at a point yet where I have an abundance of produce to preserve but I have planted a lot of fruit trees…so I am starting to learn different ways to preserve things so that when I am flooded with produce (yay!) I will be able to make the most of it! Get some produce from the farmer’s markets and give it a go! Jams, chutneys, sauces, pickles, nasturtium capers and all those delicious things. They also make great gifts and can be used to swap for other produce with your friends and family and community.

17. Make your Own

Ditch the toxic chemicals and pesticides and start making your own natural cleaning and garden products. You can get a few ingredients from your local bulk stores such as white vinegar and bicarb soda and make a huge range of cleaning products. Check out my Citrus cleaner here. I also used crushed eggshells to keep slugs and snails at bay. Natural pest management

18. Learn, Read, Practice

I can’t stress how important this is! Knowledge is power. Join your local library and get a book on jam making or search YouTube for “how to prune a lemon tree”. Educating yourself and giving things a go will get you a long way on your journey to living a more self-sufficient lifestyle. Take things one a time and really try and master it before moving on. It can be overwhelming if you try to do it all at once and may lead to failure and giving up.

Small and slow solutions!

Holly 🌱

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MY GARDENING ESSENTIALS //
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