Welcome back to the Ecopotters series! Meet Angus of Sprout, a subscription-based veggie growing service designed to have you producing all year round. Based in London, Sprout is specifically tailored towards making growing easy and accessible for city dwellers, living in small spaces. You hero Angus!
Here at Ecopots, we know how important community is. Through the simple act of storytelling, we aim to create an online space where like-minded individuals can connect and inspire one another.
There are a million ways to live in a greener way, and this is just one story.
How did the idea for Sprout come about?
The idea for Sprout was really born out of my love for growing vegetables. I grew up on a farm with an amazing vegetable patch. When I moved to London, I started growing my own vegetables on my balcony, to try to stay connected to the countryside. Over the years, I figured out what works in a small space and what doesn’t, so would recommend to friends what to grow and how to grow it. In time, with more and more people expressing an interest in growing vegetables but not knowing how or where to start, I decided to start Sprout to help out.
What different services do you provide?
At Sprout, we offer a series of subscriptions so that everyone can grow healthy, sustainable vegetables at home regardless of whether or not they have a big garden or any previous experience.
Our subscriptions are designed for city growing; for example, we have consciously chosen specific varieties of vegetables that are able to thrive in small city spaces. They stay small and compact, grow quickly, and can be harvested over long periods - perfect for you to pick what you need, when you need it! The ‘Seasonal Vegetables’ or ‘Leafy greens’ subscriptions are great for balcony or patio growing, and ‘Herbs and Microgreens’ are best for those with a sunny windowsill.
To maximise productivity in a smaller space, the subscriptions are integrated into annual plots, growing multiple crops in each pot throughout the year. Each vegetable will be grown in its best season, alongside compatible vegetable companions, which will boost its overall growth. We’ve got it all planned out and provide monthly packages of everything you need, when you need it - pots, compost, seeds, growing guides, fertiliser and some surprise presents along the way!
Also, we are always on hand to help out with any vegetable disasters too - we know from experience how easily things can go wrong - just get in touch with us and we will have you back growing again in no time!
What are some of the benefits of growing your own food?
There are so many. It reduces food miles and the need for packaging on vegetables. There’s no machinery, supply chains, herbicides, or pesticides, and it can free up land to be given back to nature. It improves local air quality, and mental wellbeing. Also, it provides much needed food for bees and other pollinators in cities. And most importantly, it provides you with loads of fresh and healthy vegetables right on your doorstep to enjoy!
What veggies have you found the easiest to grow in a small urban space?
My favourite small-space vegetable has to be rainbow chard – it’s a bit like spinach but grows the most amazing colourful stems which are delicious in their own right, and it can deal with cold weather - so it’s fantastic through the winter.
Do you have any top tips for growing now we’re going into the winter months?
There are still lots you can grow through the winter. I like things you can continuously harvest, rather than a root which you pull out and it’s done – so leafy greens are what I usually go for, stuff like chard or kale. My top tip is to not wait too late to plant them, as you need to get the plants to a decent size before it gets too cold. Unfortunately, in small city spaces where pot space is at a premium, that often means being a bit ruthless and pulling out a summer vegetable before it’s finished.
How else do you incorporate sustainability into your business and why is it important to you?
Sustainability is at our core. We are asking our customers to do a great thing for the environment by growing their own vegetables, so it’s essential that we uphold our side of the bargain by only using the very best products for the environment. Alongside Ecopots, we use Soil Association Certified organic compost from a lovely company called Fertile Fibre who were well ahead of the trend of peat-free compost. All our seeds are also organic, as we want to support and promote organic farming. It’s estimated that if all of Europe’s farmland was organic, agricultural emissions could drop by 40-50% by 2050. Finally, we have designed bespoke packaging to be fully compostable, recyclable and 100% plastic-free.
Are there any cool sustainable brands you use that you would like to give a shout out to?
Alongside Fertile Fibre, we want to shout out @theteaspoonclub. The Teaspoon Club sells the most incredible fresh spices, that are jam-packed full of flavour and, most importantly, are ethically sourced. They share our same commitment to being 100% waste and plastic-free. You can order spices in the exact amounts you need, as well as in delicious spice recipe kits – in my opinion, they are the perfect accompaniment to home-grown veg!
And a big thanks to you guys for keeping up with the Ecopotters series - see you next time!