How to grow your own herbs this summer to boost your zero-waste efforts

Alan Titchmarsh on 'creating depth' in a small garden

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Many Brits have turned to gardening over the pandemic. The pasttime has seen a surge in popularity being voted as the second most popular activity to do during lockdown according to research by GlobalData. As well as providing you with kitchen staples growing herbs can also help boost your zero-waste efforts – here’s how.

Budding gardeners and the environmentally-conscious have been taking to veggie patches across the country.

Sad bunches of shop-bought herbs can quickly go over not to mention they are often wrapped in wasteful single-use plastic.

Why not grow your own to make sure you have a plentiful supply all year round by growing your own.

If you have access to a garden, allotment or even just a windowsill you can start to grow your own delicious fresh herbs this summer.

Plastic Free July has been launched by the Plastic Free Foundation to encourage Brits to reduce or eliminate their consumption of single-use plastics during this month.

With only a third of plastic food packaging recycled in the UK, the Government’s plan ambitious target to hit net zero by 2050 is a long way off.

The Government has said all Brits will need to make an effort to help the UK reach its goal.

We all know the obvious ways to reduce our footprints – from cutting down on the amount of single-use plastic we use in our daily lives to limiting the amount of petrol we use where possible.

But your garden could also help contribute to zero waste.

Growing your own herbs, fruits and vegetables at home over the summer will help you to cut down on wasteful food packaging.

It will also mean less food goes to waste as you can harvest herbs when you need to use them in a recipe.

Shop-bought herbs usually come in big bunches and you might only need to use them in one recipe meaning wastage of fresh herbs is high.

Renowned gardener Alan Titchmarsh has shared his tips for growing herbs at home, speaking to This Morning he said: “You know people say, ‘I don’t have a garden or I haven’t got a lot of room.

“You can get a trough and you can get multi-purpose compost in it and you can get herbs.

“You can buy them in pots like this…here’s mint, very invasive…the key with this is outside your back door.”

For those without a garden, placing herbs by a window sill so that they have enough sunlight will also work.

He added: “We’ve got mint, we’ve got thyme, we’ve got sage, parsley, chives, basil…in a sunny spot, right by your kitchen window, you can go out and get a bit.”

The Plastic Free Foundation has provided some top tips to get started.

They say: “You can buy yourself some starter seeds, or alternatively, if you’ve recently got your weekly shop in, you can repurpose some of the seeds or inedible parts of your herbs, fruits, and vegetables to get your garden going.

“The hard ends of carrots and leeks that you don’t eat can be used to grow a brand-new vegetable, while seeds from strawberries, apples, and watermelons can grow new fruits.

“Leftover sweetcorn kernels, bell peppers, tomatoes, and garlic bulbs can be planted in soil or water to grow new plants, which is a great option if you don’t get through all your groceries – waste not, want not!”

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