If you’re new to growing or composting, there are handouts on the Downloads page and we are adding to our video library on YouTube. You can also join a workshop, drop in session or gardening course to get some hands on experience. See the Events Calendar and Facebook for details of upcoming sessions. We are grateful to our funders for supporting this work. Much of our food growing and composting work is funded by The Climate Challenge Fund and you will find lots of useful resources about climate change and what you can do on their website.
Jump to information on:
- Sowing seeds
- Seed saving
- Propagating – taking cuttings
- Raised beds
- Windowsill planters
- Sprouting seeds
- Permaculture – an introduction
You’ll find a ‘Bite size’ seed sowing leaflet on our Downloads page. As a rough guide, seeds should be sown at a depth about 2-3 times their size. Little seeds just below the surface, bigger seeds like peas and beans a few cm deep. Prepare the soil or compost to remove big lumps or stones. After sowing, keep the soil or compost moist but not soggy, weed as needed, thin out crowded plants as they grow (and enjoy eating the thinnings!). Here’s a comprehensive video guide to sowing seeds of all sizes in pots, modules and trays.
Saving seeds from your favourite plants lets you grow them year after year for free. Picking the best plants to save seeds from will select for plants that grow well in your garden. Larger seeds like peas and beans have a good supply of starch and will last a bit longer than smaller seeds like carrot. For best results, plant your saved seeds in the next growing season. There’s a ‘bite size’ seed saving leaflet on our Downloads page.
Propagating – taking cuttings
A great way to get more from a favourite plant is to take cuttings. Use a clean, sharp cutting blade and follow the instructions on our ‘Bite Size’ Softwood Cuttings leaflet on the Downloads page.
Not all cuttings will root so take plenty and don’t be discouraged. A very easy way to start is to grow cuttings that will root in water like mint or rosemary. You can even root leftovers bought from the shop in a glass of water before transplanting to a pot after a few weeks. Here’s our step-by-step video.
Raised beds can be a great way to start growing your own in a manageable sized area. They can be set up on grass or even concrete without the need for digging out. We used treated wood (decking) as it lasts longer than untreated or recyled wood. We have a couple of leaflets on the Downloads page and step-by-step videos of how to
and how to prepare your productive raised bed for the next growing season.
Growing on a windowsill is great fun and making a planter keeps everything tidy and increases warmth and light for your plants. We have a photo guide on the Downloads page and you can also download a student guide and teacher guide from Garden Organic there.
Remember to turn your planter so the plants are facing the window. Water them in the evening to avoid any scorching from sunshine on a hot day.
It’s fair to say we are a bit obsessed with composting! Free garden nutrients from waste, what could be better? See our Downloads page for ‘Composting Made Easy’, wormeries and a link to how to build a home made New Zealand composting box. Here’s our composting video (you can enjoy the same video in Doric on our YouTube channel.)
Sprouting seeds and Micro-greens
If you’ve ever grown cress on your windowsill, you’ve munched on micro-greens. Lots of veg are intensely flavoured and tasty when eaten as seedlings. Sprouted seeds are another great way to get a fresh bite of veggie flavour at any time of year. It takes just a few days to sprout some seeds and all you need is a clean jar and a bit of muslin or other clean, breathable fabric. See our bite size guide to Sprouting Seeds for a step-by-step ‘how to’.
Trees can be beautiful and productive. They also trap carbon and produce oxygen. There are community orchards in Elgin & Keith and we’ve planted fruit trees in schools and other locations across Moray. We’ve a simple step-by-step ‘Bite size’ guide for planting and aftercare. Our top tip is to buy trees suited to our cooler climate and shorter seasons, especially for fruit trees – buy locally or at least from Scottish suppliers.
Permaculture – an introduction
What is permaculture? It’s an ethical, practical way or framework for designing sustainable ways of living and/or producing food. It works in harmony with the environment to be efficient, to care for nature and people, and to not over-consume resources. It can be used to inform the design of gardens and growing spaces, businesses, houses and communities. It can be as simple or individual as how you organise planting of veg, using ‘no dig’ techniques, or installing a composting loo, to designing whole systems of production and care for the Earth. To find out more visit the The Permaculture Association website. REAP run ‘Introduction to Permaculture’ courses in partnership with a local, qualified tutor.