Grow Your Own Revolution Spirals Upward

03 March 2009 | Posted in Gardening by The Marshalls Family

Talk to most people with a square yard of garden or a container on even a small back yard and they'll ask you what they should be growing.  So no wonder that kitchen garden specialists like Marshalls frequently publish the top 10 tips for anything from creating a new kitchen garden, growing vegetables for the first time, to growing vegetable in containers.

The fact is that one in three Britons now grow their own vegetables, and that figure seems to set to continue rising at a round 5% per annum. The growth in interest, make no mistake, is not a result of the credit-crunch.  The Grow Your Own Revolution has been gathering momentum for some five years.  The seeds of change were sparked by a growing interest the ‘organic set' first rejecting retail concepts of freshness and nutrition.  Add to this the arguments surrounding ‘food miles' and the ‘environment' and you have a heady cocktail of issues, ripe for debate across middle class dinner parties.  The chattering classes had picked up the mantle.

And all this makes veg gardening a very interesting place to be.  On the one hand you have that traditional cloth capped, elder, allotment tending gentleman, yet now next to him may stand a twenty-something teacher or marketing executive.  Here change is not only visible, but a delight to see a new cultural diversity and old passing on time-honoured practices and gardening myths to new generations. Demand for allotments far outstrips supply and can claim to be the only boom sector within the property sector and more fashionable than Chelsea too.

At the other end of the spectrum, the middle-classes are turning increasingly to home grown. Perhaps inevitably, what had to follow availability of exotic vegetables in supermarkets was a desire to grow your own. Having developed skills as cooks to impress themselves and equally their friends, the time has come to impress them also of one's ability to grow the ingredients they use in their recipes.

But make no mistake - after ten years of celebrity chefs ramming food programmes down our throats, week in, week out, with the only real result being a massive growth in the consumption of ready meals, long-term growth will only come from gardeners who achieve real pleasure from the activity of growing their own and those that truly are lovers of good, fresh food.

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