Growing your own edibles is all the rage nowadays.

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Vegetable & Herb Garden. Picture courtesy www.gardenworld.co.zaVegetable & Herb Garden. Picture courtesy www.gardenworld.co.zaIf you love gardening and haven’t tried growing a couple of your favourite vegetables or herbs, you're really missing out, and once you've taken that first bite of your own home grown, sun-ripened tomatoes, there's no going back! Gardeners around the world; and even those who have never gardened before, are now growing vegetables and herbs for fun, health, and economy.

"Growing Vegetables in SA" E-book - Click to order or read more"Growing Vegetables in SA" E-book - Click to order or read moreLet’s face it, store-bought vegetables simply can’t match the flavour of home grown ones, and a small vegetable and herb patch can produce an amazing quantity.  Most of the common vegetable crops like cabbage, carrots, lettuce, beetroot, Swiss chard etc. are easy to cultivate, and newer dwarf varieties are available which were developed especially for small spaces and container growth, so gardeners are really spoilt for choice.

Because of their exceptional flavour, home grown tomatoes are a good choice to inspire you to grow more, but because tomatoes can sometimes be a bit temperamental, beginners should start with cherry tomatoes. Planting a patch of basil close to the tomato patch is not just common sense,  because not only do tomatoes and basil taste great together , they also grow well together. Chillies, baby marrows, radish, squash and bell peppers are also good additions to your vegetable garden, and all herbs like mint, parsley, chives, thyme etc. are remarkable easy to grow. However, always remember to only plant the vegetables and herbs that you use frequently - you don't want to bite off more than you can chew!

" Growing Culinary Herbs in SA" E-book - Click to order or read more" Growing Culinary Herbs in SA" E-book - Click to order or read moreThere are many benefits for growing your own vegetables and herbs, and some of the most motivating are:

As part of an overall healthy diet, herbs and vegetables are obvious good choices, and will go a long way to keeping you feeling and looking good. Growing your own will also inspire you to eat more vegetables, which are low in calories, and who doesn’t want that?

No more limp vegetables - we've all experienced reaching into our fridge only to find old expired vegetables, and the guilty feeling we have when we have to ditch them. Picking straight from your garden can’t get much fresher, and remember, produce found in the grocery store is often picked half ripe, having an effect on its flavour.

Home grown vegetables not only taste better but are also higher in nutrients than ones which have travelled several hundred or even thousands of miles to get to your grocery store.  Besides, transportation burns fossil fuels, so growing your own reduces greenhouse gases, and its effects on the environment.

The high costs of vegetables in the grocery stores also includes packaging costs; making ‘growing your own’ very economical and 'green.'

Another reason for growing your own is that you can control what goes into your food. You can either be very strictly organic, or use fertilizers and pest controls that you approve of. The security of knowing how your food is grown is reason enough to grow your own.

Possibly the best benefit of all is that vegetable and herb gardening will get you outdoors more often, and if you engage younger children, it may even encourage them to eat veggies they would never have considered before. You may even produce a bounty to share with friends and neighbours, or inspire a friend to start growing food plants.

The art of growing herbs and vegetables is really just common sense, and if you grasp a few basic principles, you are sure to be successful. In my e-books “Growing Vegetables in South Africa” & “Growing Culinary Herbs in South Africa” are guaranteed to be inspired to grow your own edibles. These e-books cover everything you need to know, plus a whole lot more!