Happiness from my head to-ma-toes
As the evenings get lighter and longer, many will be dusting down their forks and spades and venturing out in to their forgotten gardens to renew their quest for self-sufficiency and a dream of avoiding the chaos of a supermarket on a Friday evening. Here at Jealott’s Hill Community Landshare volunteers have been growing vegetables to enjoy for many years thanks to a partnership between Bracknell Forest Homes, Warfield Parish Council, Bracknell Town Council and Syngenta who manage the site.
Here are a few of our top tips to help you with growing your own vegetables and how best to cook them.
There are many benefits to growing your own vegetables, beyond the fact it saves you money off your weekly shopping trip. Vegetables which are self grown often have more nutrients in them than supermarket vegetables, as they are freshly picked out of the ground and do not need to be transported before being eaten. Why not try using home grown vegetables in the recipe ideas from the BFBC cooking handbook 54321 and see if you can taste the difference.
Gardening is also great exercise, with an hour of digging burning as many calories as a 30 minute run! Research is also showing the therapeutic effects of gardening, both for physical and mental wellbeing. This is the premise behind the Green Gym run at Jealott’s Hill Community Landshare, a BFBC council run project which combines gardening activities with resistance-based exercise to improve the mental and physical wellbeing of those suffering with mental health problems. For more information about the Green Gym email Alex.Rawle@bracknell-forest.gov.uk.
Top tips for growing your own vegetables:
- Make sure you cultivate your soil before you start planting, remove any weeds and dig the soil so that it is loose and in clumps. This helps get oxygen in to the soil which helps the seeds to grow.
- Adding compost to the soil before you start planting your seeds helps create a nutrient rich soil to promote growth.
- Each type of vegetable needs to be planted at the right time of year and has a slightly different way of being sown so make sure you read the instructions on the pack before planting.
- Plant the seeds on a sunny day and water them once planted.
Top tips for healthy eating:
- Have a wide variety of vegetables with your meals, try and get as many different colours on the plate as possible.
- Only lightly cook your vegetables, the longer you cook them the less nutrients they have left. Lightly boil or steam your vegetables for a few minutes so they still have a good crunch to them.
- Try and ensure that at least half of your plate for your evening meal is vegetables, vegetables provide vitamins and minerals as well as antioxidants to help keep your body healthy.
For more healthy eating tips visit the NHS Choices Healthy Eating page!