Growing your own – is it worth it?

How to grow your own

This summer I discovered my green fingers. I’ve always loved the idea of growing my own, but other than a few potted herbs on the kitchen windowsill, I never really had the time or the patience to dedicate to my own vegetable patch. So it was one of the things on my ‘maternity bucket list’ – I wanted to use the time spent at home to do all of those things that I never got the chance to do, you know with all of that free time I was going to have (yeah, right!).

growing your own

Okay, so I didn’t have as much time as I naively thought I would with a feisty baby and then a demanding toddler in tow, but growing my own has definitely been one of my greatest achievements since leaving full-time employment (alongside giving birth, keeping a small human alive and creating an award-winning blog of course!)

It has taken a lot of love and dedication, but those little saplings we planted in the garden back in May have now grown into fully fledged tomato plants and have given us more tomatoes than I know what to do with! In that post I also mentioned that I had just started to sow some chili seeds, which also paid off and we have an abundance of chilies sprouting each week – perfect for all of those recipes with chili that I love. growing tomato plantsSo I thought it might be helpful to share my experience if you’re also thinking of growing your own and you’re a complete amateur as I was and haven’t got a clue where to start!

Sowing the seeds

I purchased the tomato seeds back in March and sowed them in the mini fibre pots initially (one seed per pot). Once they sprouted (about 10 days later), I transferred them to slightly larger plastic pots. It’s worth noting that I sowed some directly into the plastic pots and didn’t have as good results, so I would definitely recommend the fibre pots initially – I had 16 saplings from 16 seeds, which was a pretty good outcome! I placed them on the windowsill for about a month, watering them every day, until they grew to about eight inches in height. The process was exactly the same for the chili plants.tomato saplings

Transferring the tomato plants into the garden

Once they started to take over my kitchen window, it was time to get them planted them in the garden. I planted them in May just as the weather started to warm up. You can read about how I created the vegetable patch here, but it was basically super easy and just required a lot of compost and some stakes…I also got the toddler to help out so kept her occupied for a whole afternoon – bonus!

Ongoing maintenance

I read that I needed to cut off any offshoots, which I’ve done all summer on a weekly basis. After the plants start to flower it becomes pretty obvious which shoots aren’t going to sprout. They grow back pretty rapidly, so this does take quite a bit of time (I’m taking about 100+ off shoots per week on 16 plants!). But to be honest, I found it quite therapeutic and it gave me something to do on all of those summer days when Taylor was out playing in the garden. Other than that I just made sure I watered them daily (if it didn’t rain) and added tomato feed once a week, along with some slug pellets – these are so necessary when growing your own!

The plants flowered about one month after planting them in the garden and then the tomatoes took another month after that to grow. the plants have really come into their own this month (September) and we are picking tomatoes every day. It’s important to pick them once they’re ripe as I find that they start to split otherwise.tomato plants in the garden

The chili plants are far less maintenance and literally just require regular watering and a feed once a week – no pruning. I still don’t have any red or yellow chilies (which is what the seeds were for), but the green ones suit us fine.

Was it worth it?

Absolutely! It’s true what they say about gardening being good for your health – I found it a great distraction from the computer (the blog) during Taylor’s nap times and it also provides the perfect excuse to get outside. It’s also of course really fulfilling growing something from scratch and I found that those hours spent outside gave me time to reflect and be a little mindful. Aside from that, it’s saved us money on all of those packets of cherry tomotoes and chilies which I would usually get on our weekly food shop.

But above all, it has provided us with priceless moments like these…

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Did you grow your own this summer? Would you consider growing your own? Also, I’d love to hear any tomato recipes that you recommend!!

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

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15 Comment

  1. […] Lifestyle […]

  2. thismummylark
    September 27, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    my aim next year is to try and grow something. Upto now ive only managed succulents and cacti. chillis sound good!
    thismummylark recently posted…Get to know meMy Profile

  3. The Speed Bump
    October 8, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    Wow, that’s fantastic! I wish we had a garden, I’d love to plant some fruit and veg! #KCACOLS
    The Speed Bump recently posted…Favourite TV Shows: #Blogtober 16My Profile

  4. Kayla Arnold
    October 9, 2016 at 12:24 am

    We grew our own pumpkins this year and they were amazing!! We are currently trying to clear out our garden so we can have a full veggie patch! I love growing our own fruit and veg!! Great post! #KCACOLS

  5. claire
    October 9, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    That’s fantastic, I can’t believe what an amazing crop you’ve had! I am one of those unfortunate lot who would love to do this but… I can’t even keep Cress alive! x #kcacols

  6. Angela Watling
    October 10, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    I love gardening and growing vegetables. Tomatoes are definitely a real winner and something that will always get used. I’ve grown lots of veg in the past and some really don’t yield enough to be worth the cost / effort. But part of it is just the enjoyment of being outside anyway! Enjoy the last of your crop #KCACOLS
    Angela Watling recently posted…My Top 10 Online Reads – September 2016My Profile

  7. Emma me and b
    October 10, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    what a lovely post and pleased you found it worth it too! I cant say I’ve found it has saved us money but you are right re the priceless moments -just seeing my boys face light up when he picks a tomato is worth it! although we still have ALOT of green ones left :/
    Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday!
    Emma me and b recently posted…The Gift of Time: What Mummy Really Wants for Christmas!My Profile

    1. Natalie Mudd
      October 10, 2016 at 10:11 pm

      Yeah we also have a lot of green ones! It is definitely more about enjoying the experience than saving money x

  8. Becky @ Educating Roversi
    October 10, 2016 at 9:44 pm

    I am the least green fingered person ever! I think growing your own food is a great idea if you have an interest in it. Especially for the little ones to join in #KCACOLS

    1. Natalie Mudd
      October 10, 2016 at 10:09 pm

      Haha I was for years to be fair – it’s all new to me!

  9. Sonia
    October 13, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    I have in the past and totally agree that it’s well worth it! Lack of time and life in general has got in the way over the past couple of years, plus the fact that my garden is tiny! Will do again in future though! #KCACOLS
    Sonia recently posted…Budget Birthday PartiesMy Profile

  10. Relentlessly Purple
    October 13, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    I miss growing my own, always tastes so much better than supermarket bought! x #KCACOLS
    Relentlessly Purple recently posted…#WorldMentalHealthDayMy Profile

  11. Gabriela Green
    October 14, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    I planted my own veggies one year as well. I don’t have a garden but I used my terrace. It was a lot of work but in the end even if I didn’t harvest too many, it was a great satisfaction to know I grown them myself. #KCACOLS

  12. Nicola wiggins
    October 14, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    Great post! I used to grow loads at the bottom of the garden. Had most success with potatoes, carrots, beetroot, onions, that type of thing. Tomatoes I tried several times but never came well – think I was too lazy to nurture them sufficiently! Some great pointers for next time I try though!

    1. Natalie Mudd
      October 14, 2016 at 9:28 pm

      I really want to try some root veg too – need to get a bigger vegetable patch!

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