The lovely Gia de Picciotto is such an inspiration to me, and I love what she’s doing. If she had it her way, every child in London would be eating food that they’ve grown themselves. I always think that growing crops in London is more challenging than in the country, but with Gia by your side it’s just not the case. She’s written us a wonderful post to help get you started and I really hope you enjoy it as much a I did.
When I was a child, my mother and grandmother did everything possible to make our meals more nutritious. As soon as I became a mother I realised that by giving my family healthy, seasonal meals I could keep us all feeling well. And, that edible education would help get children excited about making healthy food choices. It’s really all about going back to basics, eating foods without labels.
There are countless reasons I can think of to create an Edible Garden at home. I know in our house, my boys love the connection that have to their food. The best part is that you don’t have to live on acres of land in the country or be an experienced gardener to reap the vast reward.
Here are my top tips to get started in London:
- Make the most of your space. Whether it’s acres of garden, containers or a window box you can create beautiful plant foods. If it’s a window box go for a multitude of amazing herbs that you’ll be able to sprinkle on and transform a simple dish adding not just taste and flavour but also a serious nutritional kick.
- Head to your local nursery and get the best quality soil you can that’s best suited to your environment. Have your kids get their hands dirty.
- Be sure that your garden is watered with clean pure water. Like us our plants need the best possible water packed high in its nutrient content
- Find the spot that will allow your garden to be exposed to the most possible sunlight during the day. Edibles need this!
- Make them mini gardeners. Give your kids jobs associated with your garden even after you’ve completed planting.
- Seasonal eating. Make sure you are planting at the optimum time for the foods to grow to their full potential at the right seasons. So plan your root veggies for the winter and more summer salad ones for when the weather starts to warm up.
- Weeding is key. Give your edible garden plenty of breathing space and allow the foods to flourish!
- Natural pesticides. Can ward off some of the bugs and insects that can damage your crops. Opt for those non-toxic ones. Something like a seaweed mulch or spray not only keeps these unwanted visitors away but also builds strong healthy plants since its packed with trace elements
- Enjoy! Showing your kids hands on experience where their food comes from and to all share in the pure joy of being able to literally pick tomatoes or herbs for your salad. Use it as an opportunity to diversity the foods and the dishes you are eating.
- More info… www.edibleschoolgarden.net or rhs.org.uk
By Gio de Picciotto, Edible School Garden