Growing Food At Home | Starting Steps & 8 Essentials

8 years ago, this blog started with gardening pics, homemade recipes and photos from hiking adventures on the east coast of Barbados. i was living on a farm in the ‘farming parish’ of the island, and volunteering on another farm for a year.

Today, I’m sharing tips to start growing food at home, even if you live in a small apartment and have little or no yard.

gooseberry tree

Why grow food?

Well, aside from this year’s global ‘timeout’, fluctuating curfews, outdoor situations, public transportation challenges and the constant quest to find organic produce making venturing outside a lot less appealing in this season, gardening is healthy for the mind and (at some point) our meals.

Plus, the time will come when the faith-filled won’t be able to buy or sell, but we are able to plant and grow food now by grace, so there’s that.

Let’s walk through a short list of steps and essentials to hopefully inspire you to start growing a fruit, veggie or ground provision, or maybe give some extra attention to the plant you already have or the forgotten tree in your yard.

Tomato 🍅 seedlings

I may have been growing greens 🥬 , fresh herbs 🌿 and provisions for years, but I’m no expert. Click here to meet one who wrote a guest post about gardening for you.

Starting Steps:

pick a planting zone (in or outdoors or a combo of the two.) It can be your kitchen sill to start off, the patio, a balcony, front or back yard. Observe the sunlight pattern and timeline and check out what grows best where. See if you can identify different micro climates or well-watered zones outside. Where the bugs at? Monitor that.

-(ideally) buy some potting mix. My fave so far is ProMix. If not, scout around for the most living, rich and loose (not gluey) soil. Potting mix is almost always recommended by gardening experts, but let’s face it – it’s not always instantly affordable so don’t let that get in the way.

⁃ decide what you’re gonna plant – how about your favourite veggies or something the closest store seems to always run out of first.

start saving seeds from things like those tomatoes in that salad, okra, melongene or buying seed packs.

designate a small kitchen compost tin (with a secure lid), outdoor compost area or a combo of both.

⁃ córrale and crunch up any leaf stacks 🍃 to use as mulch or a compost layer.

get a gardening fork or start with a designated knife for digging. Oh, and a watering can or spray bottle.

get enthusiastic about this journey you’re on.

– check out Mumbai Balcony Gardener and CaliKim on YouTube or join a gardening-support group like ‘Bajan Home Gardening’ or ‘Green Thumb Barbados’ on Facebook.

⁃ Adjust your morning routine if needed so you prep for mind for quiet mornings and gardening time.

8 Essentials to Start Growing Food

1. designated planting zone/s (pots, containers, seeding trays, outside areas with borders of rocks, wooden pallets)

2. potting mix or healthy soil

3. seeds or seedlings 🌱

4. compost bin or heap

Early mornings and tomato seedlings.

5. adequate sunlight and clean water

6. organic plant bug repellent (crushed garlic water, neem leaves/tea, ground peppers 🌶 )

7. plant matter (veggie and provision scraps & eggshells)

8. patience

⁃ oh, and get a multi-compartment tin like an ice tray or tiny ziploc bags to set aside seeds to plant at some point

Tamarind, squash, gooseberries, lemon…

It starts with just one seed and good soil, even if that looks like a cup with a cutting on your kitchen window sill.

Food security is a hot topic for a reason in and beyond this season, and though we don’t find actual security in food, having some growing at home helps ease the mind in these trying times. Your food security is making sure bugs, rodents, tree climbing visitors and pets don’t harm the plants.

Plus, there’s the benefit of that precious quiet time taking care of a plant that was created to help nourish you too. How cool and amazing is that?

The rain literally just started showering down – and the plants and trees outside are gonna respond sweetly to that, especially after a baking hot day.

So, pelt that piece of potato or ginger (with the ‘eye’) and save seeds from those tomatoes in that salad and you’ll be sweetly surprised with what you see in a few days.

May your hands be blessed and whatever you grow flourish, by grace.

What food will you start growing, or what’s already springing up or flourishing in your home or garden?

Liked the post? Feel free to share this link with someone you love.

picking mangoes to use in shakes, curry dishes, naturally curly hair treatments and jusso

Gardening is calming – it’s also a good workout minus a membership fee. Don’t be intimidated; be inspired and motivated to join in and grow food right at home. Start with what you have and scout around for accessible cuttings and supplies when you can, or just ask someone for a helping hand to get started. Feel free to come by again and share an update in the comments, to encourage somebody else reading this.

plant (and scrape) seeds into a wooden pallet then separate and transplant them when they’ve established some roots. i like to add eggshells & some plant bits

Start your blogging journey by clicking this link. You’re also helping to maintain this blog when you do, so thanks.

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Indra is the Coordinator and lifestyle/career writer of Joy within. She shares content management tips, refreshment reminders and interviews with creative entrepreneurs. The bilingual singer-songwriter, blogger and publishing consultant from Barbados works mostly from home after pressing pause on a life of travel. As a teen she almost gave up on life; now as a woman saved by grace, she's living joyfully with purpose, encouraging the overwhelmed and helping new bloggers launch well and keep up with content. Follow 'Joy within' blog for firsthand updates on new posts, guest features and tropical vlogs.

5 thoughts on “Growing Food At Home | Starting Steps & 8 Essentials

  1. These are great tips! My partner and I love gardening and really want to move to growing fruit and veggies – I like the idea of the kitchen windowsill as a planting space so you can always watch for new growth xx

    1. Ooo, that must be so cosy; y’all gardening together. Any recommendations for best houseplants for tropical places? I have no idea which ones work best for inside; just one kind so far.

      1. My favorite indoor plants are philodendrons because they are usually pest-free. I love the tropical feel that palms bring to the indoors, but you need to rotate them regularly otherwise they tend to get scale and mealy bug inside which can be hard to control. Some hanging ferns are great too if you have space to hang them – but they can be difficult to water without making a mess. I love to bring orchids in from the garden when they are in flower, but for many species that’s only once or twice a year. Dieffenbachias (dumb canes) are hardy indoors too, but be careful if there are young kids around because the leaves are toxic if chewed on.

      2. Beautiful walk-through of your plants and thanks so much for sharing. Looking at getting a couple palms and grateful for these tips before getting any other indoor ones

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