In Your Garden: More and more people are growing their own produce

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

IT can be truly demoralising to put countless hours of time and energy into growing plants only for them to die when you go on holiday.

Plants need care and attention and without high-tech watering and ventilation systems, it can be hard to ensure their survival when you aren’t physically there to care for them.

The alternative would be to never go on holiday. Not a great option.

Is it any wonder then that a new survey has found that almost half of us get someone to babysit our tomatoes when we can’t be there?

A new report from YouGov, commissioned by Wyevale Garden Centres, found that 45% of Brits seek out a horticultural equivalent of a babysitter for their beloved fruit and veg when away on holiday.

It’s a situation I can fully understand.

When I had my allotment, I used to arrange to water a fellow plot-holder’s plants when they were on holiday on the understanding they’d return the favour.

The situation worked well and ensured no one’s plants went thirsty.

I’ve heard of people who couldn’t get someone to water their plants trying other methods such as leaving their plants in a bathtub full of water.

However, the danger with this is that they might effectively drown.

If I were you, I’d do exactly what half of Britons are doing and find someone to take care of your plants if you can’t.

The same YouGov report states these plant-loving holidaymakers are part of a new breed of gardener they’ve dubbed the “super grower”.

The survey found that 77% of these “super growers” said eating their own produce is what makes them happy about growing their own and brought more satisfaction than saving money.

Meanwhile, 44% said they are growing enough at home to share their crop with friends and family.

And more than a quarter said growing their own fruit and veg had become a hobby for them and increased their knowledge of gardening.

Duncan McLean, Buyer and Horticultural Expert, Wyevale Garden Centres, said: “We have seen the ‘grow your own’ movement reach new heights, from how gardeners are tending to their crop, growing more exotically, to sharing their produce with family and friends.

“The ‘grow your own’ trend is in the midst of a growth spurt itself.

“People are starting with herbs in plant pots on the windowsill, progressing to salad leaves, tomatoes and chillies and once the passion kicks in, moving on to vegetable patches and allotments, full of increasingly-exotic veg.

“We are truly becoming a nation of super growers.”

As well as tasting better than food that can be bought in a supermarket, homegrown food saves money and has become the much-loved hobby of almost a third of Brits surveyed.

According to Wyevale Garden Centres, tomatoes are the nation’s most-popular fruit amongst growers of those listed, with a vote of 73% among those who had ever grown herbs, fruit or vegetables.

Salad leaves come next at 55%, followed by potatoes (52%), beans (42%) and peas (37%).

People are also increasingly growing more exotic produce, including Climbing Blue French Beans, Dwarf Bananas, Goji Berries, Kohlrabi, Jerusalem Artichokes, Oca tubers and Kumquats.

Although the majority of those surveyed said they grow produce in their own gardens, not having one hasn’t stopped people.

Other top places to grow include pots, windowsills, balconies, stairwells,  conservatories and, my personal favourite — allotments!

Wyevale also sells its own range of products for those looking to grow their own.

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