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Hello and happy Monday to you all.  It’s a blustery wet start to the week here at the cottage and I’ve come down with the dreaded sniffles.  Nope, I’m not faking so my DH will make me a hot whiskey and I can hide away from the kids. There is no reality where I can hide away from my kids,  that baby is like a bloodhound,  she can sniff me out from over 100 paces away!  We’ve been very busy over the last few weeks and I didn’t take care of myself and now I’m paying the penalty.  Send all the cake!!!

"Oh what a lovely bunch of app-pples" The only thing looking good in my garden right now!

“Oh what a lovely bunch of app-pples” The only thing looking good in my garden right now!

I thought I would take this chance at a slower pace and explain to you all why we chose to grow our own food here at the cottage.  I’ll be honest right from the start it was more of a selfish desire than the thoughts of helping the environment.  I had this idyllic vision in my mind of walking outside to the back garden on a lovely summer day, picking some fresh veg and walking back through my stable half door, into my kitchen and making some fabulous food.  Over the summer this was achieved but there was a lot of hard work involved but I guarantee you that it was worth it and it’s more labor intensive than difficult.

When I start with a goal in mind, craft or garden related, I usually spend a few hours researching it with my Filofax at hand.  I had a hazy memory of growing plants and some food when I was younger at home before Nintendo stole my teenage years, so I had an idea of what to do and where to start and I knew the business end of a seed and the importance of soil.  But where my gaping lack of knowledge was just how to start when there was no area cleared for planting, I mean my parents and family had always done this bit for me and I had no idea what to do.

My mind went to container gardening and raised beds.  I covered how we set this up on the podcast and previous posts so I wont bore you again but the more I read around the topic of GIY the more sure that I wanted my kids to grow up with a sense of food empathy and an understanding of where the food they are eating comes from.  Yes, I know my kids are very young and right now it’s more of an activity to tire them out and keep them entertained but it’s a mutually beneficially one.

The Benefits

The benefits of GIY are just endless, I’ll list 10 reasons right now off the top of my head:

  1. You get outside and get active with plenty of fresh air thereby improving your health.
  2. You reduce your grocery bill because as you grow more you buy less.
  3. You reduce your environmental food impact by eating organic GIY food with no pesticides (gotta help those honey bees) and less fuel consumption on food transport which leads to better air quality too.
  4. Food tastes better when it has just been picked. I have never tasted anything like fresh peas from the garden!! Yum.
  5. You reduce food waste. If you grow it you see the time and effort it took to grow you don’t waste it. In fact you start to learn new preservation skills!!
  6. Keep chemicals off your plate
  7. Help biodiversity in your area.
  8. You have a much wider choice of the many different varieties of food. (I chat a little about this on the podcast)
  9. Food security in the knowledge that you can just head outside and pick your dinner. Nothing like a shopping trip to the garden or balcony!
  10. Sense of accomplishment and pride. I will never be able to describe the feeling we had sitting around the dinner table looking at an entire meal that we had grown ourselves. That meal in particular was the turning point for us. We will always have food growing in our garden, even if it’s just window boxes.

Ok, give me more info

So with all these reasons in mind, I bet you would like a little more info and security in GIY before starting next spring!  Why not check out these wonderful Soundcloud pieces from GIY International at Bloom festival.  Have a nosey around the GIY website too. This is  best carried out witha cuppa and a few biscuits at hand.

Do you GIY? why do you do it? What made you start? Was it as selfish as me? What worked best for you? Where did you start, allotment/garden/window/balcony? Drop me a note in the comments I’d love to hear from you!!