Monday, 21 August 2017

Something a Bit Special #22 Getting Closer to Food with Cynneth

In February of this year, Cynneth Bonanos started making and uploading videos documenting his passion for getting closer to the food we eat. He has a Facebook page which can be found here and also a YouTube channel, all under the name of Rough Around The Hedges. Cynneth is definitely one to watch and so it was my pleasure to meet him during National Allotment Week to find out about what he does and how anyone can start to grow their own food.

Cynneth started doing what he does because people are way too removed from the food they eat, so he is joining the dots by growing his own food, telling people all about it, and has aspirations to become a market gardener.
I have struggled to keep anything alive in our garden, even on our windowsill; my biggest success story so far is a pot of rosemary which has been with us (and flourishing) for over five years! Apart from that one pot though, nearly everything in our garden has a shelf life of just a few months, so the garden centre usually makes lots of money from me on a regular basis when I need to stock back up. For this very reason, I was apprehensive about meeting Cynneth and him discovering that although I’m in touch with my food, my fingers are not at all green! However, I had him all wrong. Cynneth is all about learning, experimenting and just seeing what works – or doesn’t. He grows the same type of plant in different areas of the garden for example, to see which space lends itself best; he’s not precious about weeding or aesthetics and will keep some plants (even though they aren’t producing any veg) because they help to keep pests away from the crops he wants. 
We have a tiny little garden and we also have two very greedy rabbits who will eat anything in sight (we haven’t needed to mow our grass in five years!). So, I asked Cynneth, for those who haven’t grown veg before or for those with limited space, what would he suggest as a starting point? His top tip is to start small. Don’t try to do too much because it will become overwhelming and then you’re likely to give up! Start with easy stuff like greens, lettuce and courgettes and be sure to grow something you enjoy eating so that you can reap the benefits. Greens and salad leaves are great for growing on windowsills if you’re short of space. They grow so quickly that the reward of having fresh leaves keeps you motivated. Potatoes are also easy to grow and can even be grown in pots and grow bags. 
If Cynneth and I have encouraged you at all and you are keen to start growing food straight away, there are certain greens which can be planted now; also, things like carrots and onions, which survive in cold weather, can be planted and will be ready in spring. Radish should also do well as it’s a quick one to grow and it’s still warm enough to get a crop. 
There’s no denying that to have a seasonal garden it takes a heck of a lot of time, effort and space, but by growing one or two things, you’ll feel a real sense of achievement, enjoy your food even more and spend less at the supermarket!
Do you grow any of your own food? Might you start after reading this? 

1 comment:

  1. I wouldn't consider myself green fingered but we do love to try and grow some of our own - potatoes, raspberries, tomatoes, sweetcorn, spring onions and rocket. This year is the first time I've tried growing tomatoes from seed, and I'm so proud of each little tomato when it lands up on my plate!