Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Shun the supermarkets and grow your own

The rising cost of living is encouraging scores of people to start growing their own produce.
Gardeners are shunning the supermarkets in order to grow their own.

Recent figures from the Horticultural trades association show a 31% increase in the sales of vegetable seed to householders, and a corresponding 32% decline in the sale of flower seeds. We are also buying nearly twice as many seedlings and young edible plants like tomatoes and marrows, and are growing far more herbs than ever before.

The Royal Horticultural Society and seed companies back this up, saying that vegetable seeds sales are now outstripping flower seeds for the first time since the second world war!

Suttons, which sells nearly a third of all household vegetable seeds in the UK, said this week that there had been a massive increase in vegetable growing in Britain. "We are seeing a big move away from flower seeds to vegetables. There has been a dramatic rise in things like sales of onions and potatoes. Spuds in particular are nearly 60% up on last year, which was 20%-30% up on the year before," a spokesman said. This year the company expects a 30% increase in its sales of UK vegetable seeds.

Brits are also increasingly keeping chickens in their gardens in order to avoid the rocketing price of eggs, as a number of DIY chains reported a steep rise in the sales of chicken coops.

Carrie Pailthorpe, from Garden Organic, also encourages "growing your own" as the cheaper alternative to paying supermarket's ever-rising prices for staple products such as fruit and vegetables.

"Whether it's in an allotment, a small vegetable patch or just a few window boxes, the produce grown will certainly save pounds rather than pence," she added.

Demand for organic food rose sharply in 2006 to an estimated £1.937 billion, according to the Organic Centre for Wales.

It added that over the last ten years the area of land under organic management in the UK has increased ten-fold from 60,000 hectares in April 1997 to 619,783 hectares in 2007.

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