More and more people are growing their own vegetables at home – or in small plots of land called allotments – in countries across the world. In England and America, places where the majority of families have a house with a garden, people are digging up the traditional lawn to feed their families – or trade surplus produce (a name for what you have grown and harvested) with friends, families and neighbours. With such areas of land, if your family is vegetarian it is quite possible to become self-sufficient in food terms, meaning you will not have to go grocery shopping for food at all.

Vegetables – especially organic ones – are relatively expensive these days too, so you will also be able to save a lot of money from the weekly shopping bill.

However, many of us in the city live in apartments, and so we may not have a large, sprawling garden to plough, till and sow, to reap bountiful rewards. Window boxes and pots are a great alternative, especially for herbs and spices, and salad vegetables such as tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, radishes and squashes.

Potatoes can also be grown in pots, but if you have a little more space on your balcony, used tires can provide an excellent method: Start by stacking two tires and fill them with soil and several seed potatoes. They will soon start to leaf and sprout potatoes. Once they reach about 10-15cm, you can add the next tire, packing soil around the stems, which will then continue growing up and producing more potatoes. This can be repeated several times, creating a tower of potatoes!

Fruit may be a bit more limited in choice if you can’t plant an orchard, but strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants and small citrus and cherry trees are all possible within a confined space.

Growing your own fruit and vegetables is not only healthier – as you know exactly which pesticides, hormones, weed killers and fertilisers you have – or haven’t – used, but it also makes you feel both proud and capable, and helps you save a decent amount of money from your grocery shopping too. It will take a bit of patience, but you will learn a great deal about growing conditions, and differences in what can be grown seasonally – and what can’t. This also helps us see what fruit and vegetables have to be grown artificially, or flown in a long way to reach the supermarkets, meaning we can not only be healthier and better-off financially, but we can also live more ecologically, reducing our ‘carbon footprint’ and helping protect the environment.

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