Stop Food Waste is delighted to have sponsored two series of Grow Cook Eat , a TV series by GIY Ireland all about growing your own food.
Growing greens prevents food waste, saves money and is an excellent way to get a taste for GIY (Grow it Yourself). We recommend starting with lettuces and herbs – two of the most commonly wasted food that are also some of the easiest to grow!
Bags of salad are expensive and, once opened, last a very short time in the fridge. It is estimated that as much as 50% of lettuce goes to waste! Growing your own means you can have just the right amount of fresh leaves, whenever you need them. No more half-bags of wilted lettuce in the fridge!
You need very little space to grow lettuce, a few pots on the patio or even windowsill is enough to get going. Other than some watering and maybe the odd slug patrol, growing salads won’t take much of your time.
What kinds of salad you grow depends on how much space you have and whether you like sharp, peppery leaves like rocket, or mild ones like Romaine or butterhead. Generally, lettuce heads need slightly more space than the single leaf varieties. Most seed companies offer mixed selections, so you can have a go at growing a little of several varieties.
Take a look at GIY’s website for everything you need to know about growing greens.
Fresh herbs are another very commonly wasted food. Although you can avoid this waste by using dried versions, the flavour of fresh herbs just doesn’t compare!
If you have outside space, perennial herbs are a great place to start. These are (officially) plants that live more than 2 years which means that once they’re planted, there’s very little left to do! Thyme, rosemary, sage, chives and mint all grow well in Ireland. Plant these close to the kitchen and you can nip and snip whenever you need herbs for cooking. Keep mint in a pot to stop it taking over. Basil, coriander and parsley are all good options to grow too but these take bit more care than the perennials.
Go on, give it a grow!