How to grow enough food to feed your family in LESS than four square feet

Grow your own vegetables, pictured at Sprowston Garden Centre. Paul Marlow, manager, with Steph Beck

Grow your own vegetables is the message from Sprowston Garden Centre. Pictured is Paul Marlow, manager, with Steph Beckett, supervisor. - Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

Growing a healthy meal at a bargain price isn't for folk with acres of land to spare. 

That is the message from experts at a city garden centre who are encouraging families to ease the purse pinch by growing their own grub.

The team at Sprowston Garden Centre have shared their top tips on which fruits and veggies are easiest to grow and how it can be done in limited space. 

The thing which puts off many would-be urban farmers is space, but the gardening experts are keen to set the record straight.

Grow your own vegetables, pictured at Sprowston Garden Centre. Steph Beckett, supervisor, potting up

Steph Beckett, supervisor, potting up herbs. - Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

Stephanie Beckett, 56, the team leader at the centre said that a 4x2ft area is all that's needed to feed a family. 

She said: "Any space can be put to use, but a 4x2 plot will get you a selection of fruits, salads and vegetables."

And keeping the plants alive doesn't have to cost the bill-payer either. 

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Stephanie said: “Water butts are good because they don’t contain any of the minerals or chemicals which can be found in tap water and it is far better for growing vegetables.  

Grow your own vegetables, pictured at Sprowston Garden Centre.

Strawberries at Sprowston Garden Centre. - Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

“Rain water is also free and can be collected in any containers you have at home, the bigger the better.” 

Getting started is simple too, Stephanie explained: “The main thing you need is a have-a-go attitude.

"No previous knowledge is required as long as you have something to dig with, some compost and some seeds. Just start your own veg garden and learn as you go along. 

Grow your own vegetables, pictured at Sprowston Garden Centre.

Plenty of plants at Sprowston Garden Centre. - Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

“You don’t need any fancy equipment and you don’t need to spend a lot of money. 

“Anything can be tailored into a new planting space.” 

Stephanie added even people with no outdoor space can plant their plants in grow bags.

Grow your own vegetables, pictured at Sprowston Garden Centre. Tomato plants.

Tomatoe plants at Sprowston Garden Centre. - Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

She said: “There are plenty of vegetables that can be grown in pots, hanging baskets or grow bags.  

“Cucumbers, potatoes, tomatoes, runner beans, strawberries and carrots to name a few are great for growing in small spaces like this.” 

Grow your own vegetables, pictured at Sprowston Garden Centre.

Grow your own vegetables, pictured at Sprowston Garden Centre. - Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

Stephanie added: “It tastes a lot better than store-bought food, fresh from garden to plate and you know what chemicals - if any - have been used on the food you are eating." 

What are the easiest vegetables to grow?  

Stephanie is an experienced vegetable grower and has provided some exclusive insight for beginners.

She said: “Potatoes are an easy veg to grow. Once they start sprouting, you put them in the ground, mound them up and they require no watering as they will seek it out themselves.” 

Grow your own vegetables, pictured at Sprowston Garden Centre.

Sprowston Garden Centre. - Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

A firm favourite with garden centre customers, Stephanie thinks everyone should also try growing their own tomatoes.  

She said: “Tomato plants can be grown in the ground, pots, grow bags and some varieties can even be grown in hanging baskets.

Grow your own vegetables, pictured at Sprowston Garden Centre. Tomato plants.

Tomato plants at Sprowston Garden Centre. - Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

“They need to be watered regularly around the soil and not the plant itself and make sure to remove side shoots.” 

And lastly, a kitchen staple: onions.

Stephanie said: “Onions are also easy to grow. Once planted they need small amounts of water but can otherwise be left alone.” 

Grow your own vegetables, pictured at Sprowston Garden Centre.

Sprowston Garden Centre. - Credit: Kate Wolstenholme