My first article to bareminimum magazine-
Yes, dear Londoner, you can grow your own stuff (and no I don’t mean weed).
Alright, maybe the title is kind of extreme, but if you’re reading this in the first place then I’m going to assume you are interested in self sustainability and want to learn the ins and outs of this wonderful practice, and trust me, its pretty darn awesome. Self-sustainability is anything and everything that you can do for yourself to alleviate the massive pressure we’re putting on our natural resources and surroundings. Planting your own chives is self-sustainable. (I bet you were thinking of the whole hippy I bathe in recycled almost poopy water sorta sustainability but no!).
Ah, the city life, never a dull moment. Always going here or there, either busy with work or going to the pub for some after work drinks or trying the latest timeout recommended, which is almost always as hugely anticlimactic as it is over crowded. Am I a hater? Lord no. I’ve lived in the concrete jungle for quite a while, and the benefits and undeniable, it’s freaking fun, but I’ve always felt like there is something missing.
Sometimes I go to the store and I look at everything pre-packaged and sealed in unnecessary amounts of plastic and it strongly reminds me of those kitchen sets for kids, where you had your little plastic apples, and wedges of cheese and even plastic bacon, and you pretended to cook it all together and served it to your parents who pretended to eat it for the 7th time that afternoon. Get what I mean? It feels so weirdly anti-natural, sometimes I genuinely forget where food comes from, I must confess most of the time I don’t even care. Do you know how a pineapple grows? A cucumber? Have you SEEN cucumbers in the plant? It’s mind-blowing.
Okay so I’m not going to tell you to ditch Tesco and find a whole foods or go to the local farmers market every time you need groceries because Jesus Christ can they get expensive… and pretentious too; but mainly expensive. We’ve all known the struggles of being a broke student with just about enough change to survive on pot noodles and pints (you’re kidding yourself if you claim you never spared coin for that); but what if I told you, you could make those MSG filled pots look and taste better AND make you feel weirdly fulfilled, make you feel like you’re adulting and your life isn’t falling apart by the second?
Ah yes, it’s possible and its also lazy person proof and no this is not a telemarketing advert.
The thing is, my dear city dwellers, we are thriving in an environment that is superimposed onto the tangible reality that surrounds us.
The lack of tangible, concrete and present achievement in our lives is decreasing quickly, and hold up before you get all worked up; I don’t mean getting promotions or degrees or getting a boyfriend. I mean those things that are small and insignificant, but that we can see, and taste, and smell, and that are there, with us, and not in a screen or carefully marketed to you as “Instagram worthy”.
Growing your own stuff requires very simple ingredients- some seeds, water, soil, and any area in your house, flat, apartment, warehouse, halls etc that has natural sunlight. That’s literally it. Well that and of course remembering to water them every once in a while, I’m so guilty of not doing this it’s almost unbelievable I’m telling anyone else to do it but seriously, the therapeutical benefits are endless and just set an alarm on your phone or something?
To begin with, seeing green in our living space is soothing, plants oxygenate the room and create a homely and calming environment, allowing your mind to restore its directive attention on tasks and therefore improving mental acuity. Also, watching a seed you planted literally grow into a beautiful pot of rosemary that you can use to season your chicken with makes you feel woke, like seriously woke. Next thing you know you’ll be doing Yoga next to your cherry tomato plant, that you named Paco. (Yes I would name a plant Paco, sue me).
Is this lady just promoting gardening? You might ask yourself, and the answer is kind of, but I think my outlook is cooler, and also not everyone can practice Eco therapy in his or her nice back yard in Hertfordshire. Some of us got a window sill, but if you can make it work, gold star for u.
To me, there’s nothing better than getting home after a grey rainy day, when my tutor shat on my project for the 5th time because it’s not researched enough but OH LOOK, Paco grew a new leaf. I’m not being sarcastic; I think it’s the closest thing to being a proud parent. This is a well-researched area food growing is great for your mental health and wellbeing.
Feeling fulfilled or satisfied in a permanent condition is hard to define, and it may not be directly tied to either physical or mental health. Contentment and happiness are extremely loose concepts and philosophy is not my forte, but it has been demonstrated that activities that contribute to self-sustainability are engaging and contribute towards promoting a greater sense of achievement. This guy called Wilson (1984) first put forward the idea that humans have a ‘tendency to focus on life and lifelike processes’ and that knowledge about the natural world (especially plants and animals) contributed to the survival of the human race and is thus innate. In practical terms this implies that people feel most comfortable in settings where they can identify with life processes (Gullone, 2000). It’s all about the positive emotional environment.. This in turn can aid with very well know and widespread mental health issues like depression, stress and even dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
It’s simple, its cheap, it’s useful, its edible and it helps us to engage in one of the most ignored and taboos aspects of our humanity, the fact that our minds aren’t perfect. Do I need to say more? Oh yeah of course, it’s also good for the environment, helps with the reduction of redundant plastic use, its healthy, it engages you in culinary practice, have I already mentioned it’s cheap.
You know the drill my friends, get those window sills, balconies and back yards green and joyful, be self sustainable. get woke.
Okay so I’ve convinced you, amazing. So, now, how do you get started?
First and foremost lets remember plants eat sunlight like we eat carbs, so pick a spot with enough of it. Windowsills are ideal. Also lets not forget to pick the right container; 6 to 12 inches deep is ideal, herbs actually grow best in deeper containers (remember the chicken).
Pick quick maturing crops that you can grow in succession if you have a limited amount of space; we’re talking radishes, salad leaves, carrots or spinach. Water those babies and wait for the magic to happen. Urgh, so exciting.
I’m a big fan of Matthew Mcconaughey, and like he would say, alright alright alright. You’re all set, get those crops growing, get that green going.