Getting started with growing Curious about growing? Like the idea of filling your home with wildlife-friendly flowers or maybe you’re missing things like salad leaves or tomatoes if you’re not getting to the shops as often? We’ve got you covered for easy and straightforward hacks to give it a grow at home. Growing your own plants is not only rewarding, but can often save you cash, giving you on-demand hand-picked fresh goodness. Another bonus is also less single-use packaging. We promise you don’t need loads of space or special equipment to get started. Apart from some soil and seeds that can be ordered online or swapped with a neighbour, you can use what you have around your home and see the fruits (or vegetables) of your labour in no time. 1) Choose what to grow The first step on your growing journey is to choose what you want to grow. Easy to grow herbs and vegetables are great options for first timers with limited space. They’ll do well on a sunny windowsill and there’s nothing quite as satisfying as serving up home grown. For those wanting results quickly or for growing with kids, micro-herbs like cress and pea shoots are great choices as they can be eaten in as little as seven days, are super tasty and easy to grow on a sunny windowsill. Lettuce is another fast-growing option and with most salad bags costing over £1 a go, you can start saving by growing your own. A top tip is to plant a new batch of salad leaves as soon as the last batch has sprouted, so you have a constant supply all summer. Another factor for choosing what to grow is the time of year. Check out this guide for when to sow seeds and when to harvest veg. 2) Know your patch Remember to consider your space when choosing what plants to grow. Plants are like people – they have different personalities and while some need lots of natural light others can make do with less. For example, most salad leaves, tomatoes and herbs love a sunny spot, but mint will do well in shade if well-watered. Do some research online to find a plant match for your patch. Whether you’ve got one sunny windowsill, a small balcony or expanse of garden, there’s ways to make the most of any space: You can maximise the room in small spaces by growing upwards, using hanging planters or even using mirrors to reflect light. Even the smallest of windowsills can grow something. If you’ve got a big space and don’t know what to do with it, why not start a wildflower meadow area, perfect for bees and insects? Simply scatter wildflower seeds or read our top tips for plants that attract butterflies and bees. If you’ve got a shady spot, check out these flowers that prefer shade. 3) How to grow Growing from seeds might seem daunting but it doesn’t have to be and growing is all about trowel and error. You can get cheap seeds starting at £1-£2 per packet which usually contain lots of seeds. These can easily be bought online from sites like eBay. You won’t regret it when you watch your little seedlings sprout and grow, often changing hour-by-hour. Check out our guide to growing from seeds here. An alternative to growing from seed is to grow from a “cutting” - a part of an existing plant that can be grown into a new bigger version. Here's a handy guide to growing vegetables from vegetables you already have - magic! Growing from cuttings also work well for herbs such as basil, mint and oregano which you can take from a supermarket bought or neighbours plant. All you need is a glass jar, water and some scissors. 4) Get to know your seeds. It might sound obvious but getting to know your seeds is key to success. Seed packets are like manuals for your plant and reading them closely is the first step to getting to know how to care for them. Follow the instructions for how, where and when to sow your seeds and you’ll be more likely to see(d) the fruits of your labour. Hold on to your seed pack so you can remind yourself how to care for your new plant friend – we like to keep it safe by taping it at the back of our gardening books. 5) Invest in your soil Your seed pack will have tips on what soil your seeds will grow best in. You can order soil online if you don’t’ have a garden. If growing indoors, avoid using soil from your garden as it can bring pests and plant diseases into your home or greenhouse. Opt for organic soil if possible, and always keep it peat-free, as taking peat from its natural environment destroys habitats. If you have a garden, consider starting home composting which is an easy and affordable way to make the most of your food waste. 6) Make your own plant pot So, you’ve got your seeds and soil, now you need a home for your plant pals. Plant pots and containers can be expensive and are often made from plastic. Did you know that you can grow plants, flowers and veg in pretty much any container you have lying around at home? This is a great activity to keep the kids busy too! Try re-purposing everything from old colanders, bread bins, tins, teacups, buckets or woven shopping bags. If you fancy making a small terrarium, an old glass jar would work well. To get seedlings started, you can save items you’d usually recycle – try used drinks cartons, tins, oil cans or old takeaway containers and fruit trays. Egg boxes and even eggshells are particularly great as you can even plant them on straight into the soil once the seedlings get bigger. Read our step-by-step guide to making your own plant pots. 7) Keep your plants alive So, you’re plants are taking root – nice job! Now it’s thyme to keep your plants alive. We’ve collated some useful tips for giving your plants a fighting chance here. We’d love to see how you get on, so share your growing projects with #GiveItAGrow!