Friday, 15th April 2016
It is an incredibly rewarding process to grow your own food and there are many associated health benefits for physical and mental well-being alike. To nurture plants and watch them grow instils a sense of care and a there is a great feeling of achievement when they come to flower and fruit. Picking your food straight from plant to plate ensures that you get the most nutritional value and you can eat happily in the knowledge that no chemicals have been used to preserve and protect it. It is also cost effective - a few planters in your garden could make a big impact on your shopping bill!
Teaching people to grow food is a big part of what we do here at the Good Life Project and after a hard working winter spent preparing our new growing space production is up and running again. Our largest polytunnel now houses 10 custom built ‘hotbeds’ designed to be as user friendly and productive as possible. They are called hotbeds as they actually give off heat which creates the ideal environment for germination and rearing seedlings. With the warmth provided by the hotbeds we were able to begin sowing seeds in February and we are beginning to see the benefits of this system now in April.
Our precious Chilli, Tomato and Cucumber seedlings are now thriving – it is especially important that these are given the healthiest start to life as they take a long season to fruit, any delay in development can result in a poor crop. Cabbages, leeks, beans and peas are all ready for planting out and our first salad crops have just been harvested. We are growing a variety of lettuces aimed to make interesting, colourful and healthy salads. The flavours range from sharp peppery rocket leaves to sweet and crunchy pea shoots and spicy oriental mustards. Under the care of our dedicated Good Lifers these plants should provide us a weekly harvest all year round. Soon to arrive to the plate will be crunchy, peppery radishes and these will be followed by fresh broad beans and vibrant beetroot. We will have to wait for the heat of summer before our tomatoes and cucumbers are ready, it will be well worth it, Good Life ‘sungold’ tomatoes are the tastiest I have tried! As summer fades into autumn we will be harvesting our Chillies ready for making our locally famous pots of hot (A.KA. jalapeno jam). Winter does not put a halt to our harvesting with oriental salad leaves, cabbages and root vegetables all on the menu.
Put in short it is well worth having a go at growing your own and The Good Life Project is here to help you get started. Our beautiful allotment site at Hodge House, Reedyford road, Nelson showcases many ways to grow a variety of fruit, veg, flowers and herbs and our surplus plants are for sale. We have a stall on Colne market on Saturday 28th May, bank holiday weekend, pop by to learn more and browse our produce. We will have plants, pots of hot chilli jam, salad bags, candle holders and other craft items up for sale.
By Tom Wilkinson, Development Worker
Contact us on 07753778619 to see how you can get involved.