Gardening: You can still grow your own food with little space – in a flat or on windowsill

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Growing your own vegetables is a fun and simple way to get food on your table and, luckily, it’s easier than one might think. Gardeners and non-gardeners alike can grow their own edibles and you don’t even need that much space.

When Sam Smith from London started to grow seeds in pots on his flat’s balcony last year, he discovered that you don’t need a garden to grow your own food.

Sam watched his seeds grow into herbs and vegetables, and realised that he’d found a new hobby to fill his spare time in lockdown.

He also noticed via social media and gardening blogs that others were starting to become more interested in gardening too. He said: “I realised that a lot of other people were getting into it at the same time, and most of them were non-gardeners and people who didn’t really have much experience with growing stuff before.

“No one really knew what they were doing – they didn’t know what time of year to look after vegetables, how to fix things if they’re going wrong, and where to get all the different bits from.”

“It became clear that people in cities really don’t know very much about growing food,” Sam said.

The young Londoner decided that he wanted to help beginner gardeners, and after a few weeks of planning, he set up his own company to cater for city-dwellers who wanted to try their hand at growing their own food.

Described as a “monthly grow-your-own veg and herb subscription for people who want to get growing at home, just don’t know how”, Pot Gang is Sam’s new business.

Sam explained: “The service is a subscription, where each month we go around and deliver three types of seasonal seeds to people.”

March is the ideal month to start growing tomatoes and radishes, therefore Sam and his team sent out boxes of tomato, radish, and chilli seeds to people with a Pot Gang subscription.

Compost is included in the boxes too, as well as instructions on how to plant the vegetables for anyone unsure of how to get started.

Sam also has a hotline where subscribers can send him any issues or queries they may have about the planting.

What makes Sam’s business unique is that it is designed to help people with little space. He said: “It’s basically helping beginners grow their own stuff in small city spaces, whether that’s a balcony, a patio, or even a window for some people.”

Sam said that all you need to grow your own vegetables on a balcony or windowsill are pots, compost, and seeds.

He explained: “You need pots, compost and seeds – those are the only components you need to bring into your home, and then just natural conditions, such as sunlight and water.

“That’s the key to growing.”

With tomatoes, Sam recommended planting them first in a small pot and then moving them into a slightly bigger pot when they start to grow, while radishes can be grown in a small pot and do not usually need to be moved to anything bigger.

This month, Pot Gang’s boxes to subscribers will contain rocket and French bean seeds, as May is the perfect month to start growing salad leaves and beans.

If you start planting these seeds now, Sam said that they will be ready to eat by the end of June or by the beginning of July.

“At this time of year, if the weather stays warm, things will grow super fast,” Sam said.

For beginner gardeners, Sam explained that many vegetables are straight-forward to plant, but he recommended starting with salad leaves, spinach, and radishes.

The London-based entrepreneur also shared tips on when to water your seeds.

He said that currently, seeds need to be watered every two to three days, while in winter they need water less often – around once or twice week.

Sam said: “Check the soil every day and if it’s dry, give it a bit of water, and if it’s still a little moist, leave it.”

To find out more about Pot Gang or to subscribe to its service, visit Potgang.co.uk.

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