Six self-sufficiency dos and don'ts

1. Do little and often.

"If you've got an allotment or a large veg patch you need to be able to put in an hour or two a day ideally," says self-sufficiency enthusiast Andy Hamilton.

2. Do think about storage.

Avoid waste and stretch the season by freezing, pickling or turning your produce into jams, chutneys or booze.

3. Do explore bartering systems.

It's a good way to manage your excess produce and enables you to get things you might otherwise have to buy.

4. Don't spend a fortune on kit.

John Harrison recommends sticking to the basics. "A spade, fork, hoe and pocket knife is all you really need," he says.

5. Don't rush it.

Experts say it takes about three years of trial and error to find out what produce grows well on your plot.

6. Don't take it too seriously.

"Although you're growing your own food make sure it's fun," says Pat Gardiner, who runs

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