Sustainable Cooking from Garden to Plate


They say you are what you eat, so we want to eat sustainably! Check out these 5 Sustainable Cooking Tips – being sustainable from your garden to your plate!

1. Grow food from scraps

Leftover food isn’t just for composting – if you’re careful about how you cut them, many vegetable scraps can be encouraged to grow into new plants. Much less fiddly than growing from seed!

Onions – cut off the root with a little bit of the onion flesh. Plant this just under the soil in a sunny position. In a few months when the stalk turns yellow you have a new onion!

Celery – ensure the base is intact. Put the water for a week, changing the water every couple of days. Once yellow leaves grow out of the stem plant it into a pot with soil. The temperature needs to be warm, but not too hot!

Potatoes – once ‘eyes’ form, cut the potatoes into 2 inch pieces – make sure each piece has 1-2 ‘eyes’. Leave at room temperature for a few days so the cut surface area dries out. Plant in a pot of rich, moist soil 8 inches down with the ‘eyes’ facing up. When you see roots add more soil to the pot.

Onions – cut off the root with a little bit of the onion flesh. Plant this just under the soil in a sunny position. In a few months when the stalk turns yellow you have a new onion!

2. Companion Planting instead of Insecticides

Pests and diseases can be controlled by planting beneficial ‘companion plants’ with your fruit and vegetables. These plants contain natural chemicals that deter pests or attract beneficial insects and animals that prey on pests – and a biodiverse vegetable patch is beneficial for the soil, for attracting pollinators and encouraging a variety of insects to feast off each other instead of your vegetables!

Marigolds – repels white fly and root knot nematode. Plant plenty with Broccoli, Lettuce and Tomato.

Dill – attracts a wasp that controls Cabbage White Butterfly. Plant with Cabbages, Cauliflower, Celery, Cucumber, Lettuce and Zucchini. Keep away from Carrots and Tomatoes!

Chives – deters aphids and prevents Apple Scab. Plant with Apples, Cucumbers, Lettuce, Peas.

Tansy – repels moths, flies and ants. Plant beneath peach trees to repel harmful flying insects.

Sweet Corn – perhaps the most practical of Companion Planting, these work as a living frame for climbing peas and beans!

3. Create your own Fertilizer

Composting and worm farming diverts unavoidable food waste from landfill while producing rich, natural fertiliser for your pot plants and garden. You can use compost, worm castings and worm juice to feed your plants and improve your soil.

Make sure your soil is kept moist with regular watering and a thick layer of mulch. Pots dry out quickly and need extra attention, but make sure they are not over-watered.

Many local councils offer weekend workshops on composting, worm farming, permaculture and organic gardening. Contact your local council to find out more.

4. Preserve your excess Fruit and Vegetables

When you grow your own food you will inevitably find you sometimes have more than you can eat. While it is nice to gift food, you may find your friends are similarly inundated with a similar crop or gifts from other gardeners!

An alternative is to preserve your crop for later use – you can create Pickles and Jams, tomato Sauces for quick pasta meals, even pickle vegetables whole in Brine. Try our recipe for Green Tomato Pickles!

5. Reduce Packaging

Unless you have a very large garden it’s unlikely you can go without buying food from grocery stores. However there is still good work to be done there too – when you buy food, try and buy the variety that uses the least amount of packaging. If you find a brand had more layers of packaging inside the box than you expected, switch brands – but contact the supplier to let them know why you have switched brands to encourage them to use less.

Buy in bulk. Rather than purchase two tins of tomatoes you will use in the same meal, seek out the larger cans – this will reduce packaging by about a third, and likely save you money as well.

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