Sustainability is important because it reduces your environmental footprint, and makes you less dependent on external resources. However, sustainability isn’t easy. Becoming fully self-sufficient even in one area is largely impossible for most people. For example – if you want to grow your own food, you’d have to grow vegetables, fruits, spices, herbs, cereal, and much more! And you’d be missing out on lovely products such as our pasta straws (on Amazon)!
So, while you can’t be fully sustainable, you can be somewhat sustainable. And that’s what this blog is all about. We want to help you become a little bit more sustainable by growing your own food in the space you have available – whether it’s some land, a backyard, or even some containers on your balcony!
Let’s get started!
Growing your own food: The easiest plants
We all like seeing results, so let’s start with something nice and easy, so your chances of success are better. We’ll be honest with you – growing plants is hard. Not everyone has a green thumb, and some plants will die if you so much as look at them the wrong way.
But we’re here with some tips that’ll help!
Herbs are at the top of our list, because they can be grown in your kitchen, on the dining table, in a bay window…just about anywhere! If you have some land and give them some outdoor space they’ll flourish, but they do okay indoors as well, so long as they get some sun. And here’s a tip – if you don’t get much sunlight in your home, just use grow lights!
Basil, rosemary, thyme, mint and oregano are beginner-friendly herbs that you can grow indoors in a sunny window or under grow lights. Caring for them is easy. They don’t need fertilizer, they need to be watered regularly, and as long as the container has a drainage hole, they should do okay.
When it comes to herbs, harvesting little and often is best. This effectively does the same job as pruning, and encourages the plant to bush out and make more leaves.
Greens or leafy veggies are second on our list. These include lettuces, brassicas, mustard greens, and various other plants. You can use these in salads or meals, and you’ll love them extra when they’re fresh from the garden. Or you can blend them into a thick, healthy smoothie, and buy our pasta straws from Amazon to drink them with!
The only downside to growing leafy greens is that they need a lot of floor space. Square footage wise, you’d get a lot more produce out of a vine crop or a root vegetable than you would from a lettuce. However, if that doesn’t bother you, or if you have a large bay window, then go for it! Home-grown salad with a dash of vinaigrette is absolutely unbeatable.
You need them in just about everything – from stir fries to pasta. While you can use canned tomatoes or tomato paste in a lot of dishes, freshly harvested, chopped tomatoes are about a thousand times better. The good news is, tomatoes are super easy to grow! They’re almost a little bit wild.
Tomatoes will need a little sun, some support (a stake works), seasonal application of fertilizer, and regular watering. And that’s pretty much it! If the plants are outdoors you may have to worry about pests and diseases like blight, but indoors or in apartment balconies they’re fairly safe from pests, critters, and most everything else. Give them a try! Store-bought tomatoes often have viable seeds.
If you have some outdoor space and can set up a support framework with bamboo sticks, you can grow plenty of beans. They grow easily, and bear like crazy. Pole beans, dwarf beans, butter beans…you name it. Whatever variety you like – just sow the seeds on time, set up some support, remember to fertilize, and pick regularly. As long as the soil is okay and pollinators can get in, you should get a bumper crop of beans.
You can cook them, share them, or freeze them for later use. The spent plants can go to your compost heap, and since they’re legumes, they’ll add Nitrogen to your soil and make it perfect for growing some greens in over the winter.
Most berries grow a little wild, so once you get a well-established plant and put it into your garden space, it should grow just fine. Make sure you give it plenty of feed and that it has access to sun and gets regular prunings. What to do with the pruned branches? Use them as mulch! In time they’ll decompose and add to your soil, making it soft and fluffy. Your berry bushes will love that.
Blackberries, raspberries and gooseberries are especially easy to grow, but blueberries aren’t very far behind. As long as you follow the steps mentioned above, we’d say the hardest step in the whole process would be harvesting, since the little tiny berries are hidden away on thorny branches. You can buy toothed tools that slide into the branches and do the job for you, so your hands are nice and scratch-free.
Zucchini has one obvious downside – the plant likes to get big. It takes a lot of space and needs plenty of sunlight and pollinators, so you can’t grow them indoors or in a small garden. However, if you have plenty of outdoor space, zucchinis bear prolifically! You’ll need to fertilize once or twice in the season, and you’ll have as many zucchinis as you can handle.
You can eat them, give them to your pets, or compost ones that are past their prime – much like our pasta straws on Amazon. They grow fast, so you’ll want to keep an eye on the fruit. If you leave a mid-size one unharvested one day because you’re busy, you’ll come back to a zucchini the size of your arm. We may be exaggerating a little bit, but only a little!
Vining crops look gorgeous trained up a trellis or bamboo frame. And if they’re edible plants, that’s so much better! You’ll forget all the hard work you put into gardening when you look out the kitchen window and see cute little cucumbers dangling from their vine, ready to be picked and eaten fresh.
Cucumber’s another wonderful crop that you can grow in your garden. Not only will it provide something edible and help you become more sustainable, but the vine will make your garden look prettier. The leaves are large and dark green, and the vine looks elegant once tidied up.
You can use prunings and the spent plant to feed pets such as rabbits, or you can compost all of it. Some say removing the male flowers (after pollination) makes the chances of getting bitter cucumbers lower. It may or may not be true – so give it a try and see for yourself!
There are many reasons to grow your own food. It’s better than a grass lawn, it makes you more sustainable, growing something of your own provides joy, and you’ll eat fresh! These are all benefits you wouldn’t receive from growing flowering or other non-edible plants.
Each step makes a difference
We started off with the message that you can’t achieve full sustainability, and we understand that it can be a little off-putting. Many people are perfectionists, and when they do something, they want to do a thorough job of it. However, we’re sure we aren’t the first to tell you that a little is better than nothing. So, each little step you take in the direction of a greener lifestyle makes a difference.
By making even the smallest of changes, you’re taking a step that will change your lifestyle and will impact the future. If you stop using plastic straws and buy our pasta straws off Amazon, for instance, you’ll be creating less plastic waste and making a change.
Most people think one person doesn’t matter, but the fact is, you aren’t alone. When a million individuals like you make little changes, it all adds up. So, never give up. Keep pushing, keep trying, and we’ll do our part to help you.
Plant a tree with every pack of edible straws that you purchase
When you buy our pasta straws from Amazon, for each box you purchase, we plant a tree. We have partnered with Seed The Change to make this possible. While our product was created with a vision of reducing plastic waste, we are aware that there’s a lot more that needs doing in order to help save the Earth. To make another little dent in the problems we’ve brought upon ourselves, we took this step.
So, at no additional cost to you, we plant a tree with every product you purchase.
If you wanted another reason to buy our pasta straws from Amazon, here it is! Most companies will send you the product and that’ll be the end of it. With us, after the deal’s done and over, we will go out and plant a tree to help make the Earth greener.
To learn more, click on this link.