From leafy greens to chillies, anyone can grow their own produce.

You might think you need a vast backyard and a green thumb to grow your own veg and herbs at home, but Kate Humble couldn't disagree more.

"Even if you've just got a windowsill, there are lots of things you can grow," says the nature presenter and cookbook author excitedly. "[There is] great pleasure to be had in providing some of the things you eat yourself."

Humble, best known for presenting shows like Countryfile and Springwatch, lives in a farm in Wales. She grows her own produce and raises livestock, but she still says: "My home growing is about actually growing things I can't easily buy, whether it's because I want a particular variety, or because it's not something that's easily available.

"So rather than thinking, 'Oh my God, I've got to be self-sufficient' - I would say this to anybody, whether they've got a garden or not: You can buy perfectly good carrots at your local farm shop, or in the supermarket. But if you want purple carrots, for example, and you might - they are delicious - grow those."

But there are still some other obvious benefits to growing some of your own produce. "It's lovely," enthuses Humble. "If you've grown it yourself, the flavours are going to be extraordinary - it hasn't been chilled, it hasn't been stored for ages. It's as fresh as fresh can be."

If you're short on space, Humble says you can still get in on the action. These are her suggestions for what to grow at home...

Herbs and leafy greens

"You can buy them in supermarkets and they're hugely expensive - but actually, they're really, really easy to grow," she says. "Any sort of salad or leafy herb - I'm thinking of things like coriander, flat-leaf parsley, dill - those sorts of herbs work really well. Chervil is really difficult to find in the shops, but really easy to grow."

She recommends reusing old plastic boxes (the kind tomatoes or fruit come in). "Keep that plastic box, put some earth in it, tamp it down a little bit, put your seeds on the top of that tiny bit of earth - not much," advises Humble. "Sprinkle a bit of water on top, put it on your windowsill and you will grow your microherbs. They'll grow so fast, you'll get them in like 10 days - and they'll keep coming back."

Humble says kale, spinach and other leafy greens are also easy to plant at home. "Having fresh greens at this time of year - or at any time of year - is wonderful."

There's an added benefit, too, because salad and herbs tend to come in plastic bags - "environmentally not great", says Humble.


"I love growing chillies, I have them everywhere," she says. "I would definitely [try growing them] if you're a bit of a chilli fiend.

"Again, there's not a lot of point in growing things you can easily buy, or are relatively cheap to buy" - so she recommends trying it out "if there's a specific variety of chilli you really like".


If you do want to grow your own carrots (orange or otherwise) they are definitely achievable if you're tight on space, according to Humble.

"If you've got a balcony, you can grow carrots in a bucket," she says.


This one isn't technically growing your own produce, but Humble is a big proponent of foraging to get fresh ingredients. A friend taught her there are a lot of things you can eat that are found everywhere - "You don't have to be a massive plant expert," she says. "And you don't have to go further than your garden."

She recommends ground elder - "which every gardener hates, because they think of it as the most invasive and nightmare weed" - but it was actually introduced by the Romans as a vegetable, she says. Humble calls it "wonderful - it's like spinach, you can put it in stews".

Humble's other foraging picks include honeysuckle (put it into ice cream) and tulip leaves ("they taste like peas").

There's something "really, really satisfying" about foraging, she says.

Home Cooked: Recipes From The Farm by Kate Humble is published by Gaia, priced £25. Photography by Andrew Montgomery. Available now.