Grow your own food

Brian Shaad, a lobbyist from north London, explains how gardening has always been part of everyday life.

I’m from a family of Italian descent who moved to California and we always grew things we wanted to eat. I started with very practical things – tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, courgettes. We grew food for canning, for jellies and to be stored in the cupboard for winter.

I definitely save money through gardening, I’m quite sure of that. Strawberries are very expensive in shops, but I eat them from the garden. It costs nothing to grow them from seed.

I grow tomatoes, basil and rocket for a local restaurant and in return I get free lunches. To buy rocket in a supermarket costs about £1 for 80 grams, but it is easy to grow all year round. It is self-seeding at the moment, so it does not require any effort at all.

I always have surplus seedlings and I started to pass them on to my neighbour. She then started to give me banana bread and cinnamon bread. Now I make pasta sauces for her freezer and she gives me soup.

Gardening has given me a chance to get to know my neighbours and now we keep an eye on each other’s houses. I told her that I was going away on holiday and she said straightaway: ‘Ok, I’ll be sure to do the watering for you.’

This is an extract from Save cash & save the planet.

Find out more about how to grow organic fruit and veg - visit HDRA.