Mark Keenan – the top seven foods you can grow in your own backyard

When I was a kid, I used to envy people who came to school with a beautiful Golden Delicious or a perfectly shaped Granny Smith. In my lunchbox, I have a strange mutant homegrown from the tree in our back garden. And when other kids picked up their label stickers before eating it, I was more likely fishing a dead wasp from my hole.

comes from a large family that always cultivates in the garden. It’s not about being ‘green’ or trendy, but about practical nutrition.

Fruit, in particular, is what most suburban backyards, no matter how small, were grown until the 1980s.

Every suburban garden has at least one “cooking” apple tree for pies and cakes, and one “eating” apple tree for snacks. In Ireland, it is customary for couples buying their first home to plant one tree out of each person when they move in.

Our diet is full of cherries, strawberries, plums, pears, gooseberries, blackberries, blackberries, blackberries, longans (like longer raspberries), berries currants and rhubarb (although classified as vegetables, for us it is for the desert). They all came out of their family’s garden in the suburbs.

I reviewed food development trends when I received the attribution. For many years we ate onions, tomatoes, cabbage, fruit and most of our fresh produce that came from that land.

When the economic crisis hit, I became a freelance business owner and had to leave the allocation because I had no free time to maintain it. The allocation requires a lot of time.

But I’ve learned a lot about what’s practical and what’s not when it comes to growing food in a limited garden space.

The Covid shutdowns have brought new excitement to growing food in suburban gardens, but a lot of people I know who have recently tried growing food have resigned after a few failed attempts.

With my experience, it’s easy for me to see where they went wrong. They buy the seeds sold in the supermarket cheaply, they plant the wrong thing, the wrong variety, they plant the wrong place.

They grow things that are too expensive to buy and require too much effort and care for what you get in return (I only plant one peas at the allotment after their two large rows are equivalent to a bag supermarket € 1.99 for unremitting efforts) .

March is the time to start if you’re thinking of growing food in your own backyard.

You should start with some types and varieties of foods that really work if you want to make a real impression at your family’s table. Buy your seeds only from top suppliers and reputable names. Researching online will tell you the varieties and seed companies to stick with.

For a small to medium sized backyard garden, here are, in my opinion, seven most practical foods for the inexperienced first timer, aiming to provide the most food for the table with minimal space. and the most effort.

1 tomato

The gift that never stops giving value, productivity, taste and versatility. It is important to choose the correct line. Do your research and look for a product that is effective but importantly a delicious variety. Sungold, Tigeralla, Brandywine, Tom Ailsa Craig and Gardener’s Delight are all reliable. Moneymaker is a tasteless thing.

Start growing them indoors from seed, placing them outside in May in sunniest walled containers in your yard. Pinch the main shoots between the primary branches and the trunk as they grow and train them to point upwards on a stick or wire.

They can be quick-frozen, made into a puree or sauce to freeze, or just picked as you need them. I don’t buy tomatoes from August until Christmas every year based on yield from a 2.5 meter tank arrangement.

2 onions

More and more shoddy paper and onions are sold in supermarkets and convenience stores making them a practical option. Buy a set (small tubers) that aren’t seeds and choose a reliable variety like Centurion.

You can grow enough onions to last a family from October to March in a high, sunny 6-foot x 4 bed. Once harvested, dry, strung, and hang for storage. You need sunshine.

3 salads

You can grow loads of lettuces from iceberg to lola rosa along with mustard and pak choi. It is best grown in raised beds with raw wood surfaces or in greenhouses (sels).

Sow two lines every week of the year. Trim the leaves instead of pulling the whole plant. When they start (sprung up), pull them out and move on to the next row. Regularly replant in the relay.

4 herbs

The basic herbs needed for your cooking are easy to grow. Buy them as crops. Don’t stack them together in the kind of herb mix that garden centers love to grow flowers. They need different soil conditions. Rosemary, thyme, marjoram and parsley are pretty straightforward.

The first three are like a rather dry soil. Plant them in large pots outside in full sun. Basil and coriander are prone to wilting and it’s difficult to strike a balance between too wet or too dry soil.

5 Chilis

You might think it’s an odd thing to include, but some of the best home-grown values ​​I’ve had over the years come from chilis. You can choose by heat. I love growing Cayenne (the classic curvy red hot pepper) and also Numex, a smaller variety of lighter colors that can glow red, yellow, orange, and purple all at once to accentuate any performance. which flower.

Chilis need to be hatched in a cling film in your hot press (otherwise they won’t germinate). They like to grow close together which saves space.

They grow best in planters with large window boxes in which you can support the plants with vines. Move them outside from May onwards or leave them in a window. Pick them up as you need them or dry them in the oven and grind them into flakes for year-round storage.

When they have ticks or bed bugs (they always do), spray with a mild soap and water solution.

6 Apples, Plums and Pears

Ireland has the perfect climate for these fruits, especially apples. For a small garden, buy the small Coronet apple tree that is grown here in Ireland. It will even grow on a balcony in a large tub. I am 15 years old and 5 feet tall.

With the two paired, it gives me yellow apples from one part and then green and red apples from another part. Pear varieties can be dug along a sunny wall or fence to save space and keep the height low in esplanade/espalier style and plum trees can also be pruned back. They also bloom.

7 potatoes

Ireland had become dependent on a pre-Famine boost because it produced the most varied nutrition from the smallest amount on the ground with the least amount of effort. National Geography called the potato “the most complete food”. Now they are being imported and become very expensive.

Buy a bag of Roosters, Kerrs Pinkks or Golden Wonders. Let them sprout. Take a knife and cut them into sections, leaving an “eye” growing in each part. Plant them one foot apart and eight inches deep. When they’re ready, dig them up as you need them.

In addition, the ‘barrel’ method allows you to grow them in tight spaces, even on a balcony. Plant a plastic container (with holes for drainage) with deep layers and spaced potting soil. So, even in an apartment, you can grow yourself a few pebbles.

No excuses, it’s March, come back and grow. Mark Keenan – the top seven foods you can grow in your own backyard

Fry Electronics Team

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