Britain is becoming a nation of grow-your-own fruit and veg gardeners once again, according to home improvement retailer Homebase.
The chain claims that increasing food prices, diminishing incomes and the desire to lead ‘the good life’ has created a boom in vegetable plots, fruit trees and allotments. But as well as familiar staples, home growers are now also opting for once rare crops such as okra, purple carrots and vegetables, used in stir fries such as Pak Choi, oriental mustard and red hot chillis.
Homebase buyer Orla Forde said:”An entire generation is rediscovering the delicate flavours of vegetables cooked straight from the garden. There is no fresher taste – and they’re also saving hundreds of pounds in the process.”
A separate Homebase survey suggests that 26% of all homeowners now possess a vegetable plot. “It’s a huge figure made significant by the fact that more British people than ever are living in flats or new homes with comparatively small gardens,” the multiple retailer said. “This suggests that grow-your-own may be taking place on a micro scale – in window and patio pots and in small spaces between established flowers, as well as in traditional, full-sized vegetable plots.”
Fruit trees are also becoming more popular with sales leaping 30% this year. Traditional British ‘heritage’ varieties of apple are most in demand. The number one choice of fruit tree for home growers is Cox’s Orange Pippin apples, followed by Worcester Permain apples and Laxton’s Superb apples. Traditional cobnuts are also in favour, along with Filbert nuts. There is a move to grow-your own exotic fruit too such as nectarines, peaches and apricots which usually have to be imported from sunnier climates.
Orla Forde commented:”Increasing food prices are driving households to become more self-sufficient. Growing your own saves not just of buying fruit and veg, but also the additional expense of using a car to get to the shops.”