Alan Titchmarsh accuses industry of 'taking the Mickey' with £1 vegetable plug prices

Gardening broadcaster Alan Titchmarsh has slammed the industry for "taking the Mickey" with overpriced vegetable plug plants.

Titchmarsh plants a tree with school children. Image: RHS/Jon Enoch
Titchmarsh plants a tree with school children. Image: RHS/Jon Enoch

Commenting on Gardening Which? revelations that online retailer Gardening Direct was selling carrot and beetroot plugs at £1.09 each, Titchmarsh said people might need an easy way in to gardening but this case was a "bridge too far".

Speaking at the opening of the RHS Hyde Hall plant centre, Titchmarsh told HW: "At that kind of cost I think that's taking the Mickey. People are going to feel that they have been duped. I don't think it does the industry any good - it really doesn't.

"When companies do things like that I feel embarrassed on behalf of the industry. You just shouldn't do that - it's not on."
Gardening Direct has since withdrawn the plugs from sale with marketing manager Mark Sherwood saying the company did not wish to mislead gardeners or give poor value for money.

But some industry figures have questioned Titchmarsh's comments. Hayloft Plants owner Derek Jarman said: "I suspect the Gardening Direct price is fair and a true reflection of the cost of the product. If people want them it is up to the industry to supply them. [Titchmarsh] has got to be seen as being on the side of the consumer but I suspect he hasn't looked at the costing of the products."

Sun gardening correspondent Steve Bradley echoed that view: "If you have been gardening as long as Alan Titchmarsh it can be hard to view things from an amateur's point of view. Some plugs might be overpriced, but having said that it is worth bearing in mind the Gardening Which? test that said seeds were a rip off."


Hyde Hall

Alan Titchmarsh officially opened the £3.5m development of RHS Hyde Hall last week. The society hopes to increase visitor numbers to 200,000 a year by 2020.

Around 100 people including children from Collingwood Primary School saw the celebrity gardener cut the ribbon to open the new plant centre, car park, access road and landscaping.

Titchmarsh said: "This site is a real inspiration. The soils and exposure mean what grows here will grow for you. The outdoors is often the first to suffer from Government cuts. But gardening has a role to play in health and law and order."

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Buoyant demand for UK apples but frost and labour remain concerns

Buoyant demand for UK apples but frost and labour remain concerns

As the British apple season begins, English Apples & Pears (EAP) is warning that growers will feel the effects of both a late frost in spring and also constrained labour supply.

Tomorrow's tractors

Tomorrow's tractors

These machines have advanced rapidly over recent years but what does the future hold? Sally Drury looks ahead.

Tractors for growers

Tractors for growers

The latest specialist tractors are providing wider choice for growers working in narrow rows, Sally Drury reports.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Professor Geoffrey Dixon

GreenGene International chair Geoff Dixon on the business of fresh produce production

Read Professor Geoffrey Dixon