How to Grow Your Own Food at Home

This Spring we're sharing tips on how to support local food producers and reduce your environmental impact by eating in season. It doesn't get more local than where you live, so take a look at these suggestions from the team at Co-op for food you can grow on your windowsill.

Want to give it a try? We have some opportunities to kick-start your green-fingered efforts:

Herbs 

Herby omelette in a pan

Herbs are one of the easiest and most common foods to grow at home. Pick up a pack of seeds or a herb pot (most retailers will sell them) and re-plant in window boxes. Keep on a windowsill (indoors or outdoors are both fine) and make sure to water them little and often. The easiest herbs to grow are often tougher varieties, such as thyme and rosemary, but mint and sage don’t need much tending either.  

Recipes with fresh herbs from the Co-op:

Spring onions 

White bean minestrone soup with spring onions

Believe it or not, you can re-grow spring onions in glass jars. Simply trim the tops of the onions until you’re left with the bulb, their roots and the white bit at the bottom. Place in a glass jar (or even a drinking glass) half-filled with water and keep near a sunny window. That’s it! Make sure you change the water every few days once it starts to go cloudy.

Recipes with spring onions from the Co-op:

Cress 

Plate of boiled eggs with cress as garnish

We all remember growing cress at school and that’s because it’s one of the easiest (and quickest) foods you can grow. Grab a small container such as a pot, tray or even a yogurt pot, and sow the seeds in well-watered soil. You should start to see it sprout within 24 hours, and be able to harvest it in 3-4 weeks.   

How to use cress: this delicate plant is delicious sprinkled over salads, served with soup or added to a classic egg mayo sandwich.  

Chillies 

Chillies growing in a pot outside

Homegrown chillies are seriously stunning – try yellow, green and red varieties. They like a hot and humid climate, so keep them in a warm room and somewhere they’ll get plenty of sunlight. To create humidity, place a plastic bag around your pot when you sow your seeds, then remove once they start to germinate. Finally, water your chilli seeds little and often, taking care not to overwater the soil. 

Recipes with chillies from the Co-op:

Tomatoes 

Tomatoes on a wooden chopping board

Start by sowing tomato seeds in small plant pots, with lots of very fertile soil or peat-free compost. As with chillies, cover with cling film or a plastic bag when you plant your seeds to create a warm and humid environment, and remove once they’ve germinated. Keep in a warm place that receives direct sunlight (this bit is crucial!), then transfer your plant to a larger pot once it’s big enough to handle. 

Recipes with tomatoes from the Co-op: 

Growing sustainably with peat-free compost 

Bag of peat free compost next to pot of tomatoes growing

When it comes to home gardening, the compost you use is crucial to ensuring your fledgling plants have the nutrients they need to grow. But many are filled with peat, an organic material that is being extracted from peatlands, which is damaging the environment and contributing to climate change. Peatlands act as giant carbon sinks by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Unfortunately, peatlands are currently being damaged and used for other purposes (gardening included), which means they’re releasing rather than absorbing CO2 and contributing to climate change.

If you want to take care of the environment as well as your plants, it’s good to use a peat-free soil.

All home gardening compost products sold in Co-op stores will be peat-free from spring 2021, so pick up your gardening products there, and don't forget you can save 10%!

Find out more information on Co-op's commitments to sustainable sourcing.  

Your Rewards points code for 25 points is: 0EX2N5P9. Go to Young Scot Membership to redeem your points.