Growing your own saves £268 a year

Britons are saving an average £268 a year by digging for their dinner plate, according to new research.

Wolverhampton residents are saving more than twice the national average at £579 per year.

Almost two-thirds (65 per cent) of people nationwide have grown their own produce in the last five years and more than half (56 per cent) are planning to in 2016.

While saving money is important for 40 per cent, health and taste benefits also top the poll of motivational factors.

Botanist and television presenter James Wong said: "Growing your own has never been so popular. It can be so much more cutting-edge than people think. By using a range of simple scientific tips and tricks you can easily supercharge the flavour and nutrient content of your crops to make them far tastier than the supermarket alternatives."

The Edible Garden Show-commissioned survey found potatoes (42%), strawberries (46%), tomatoes (59%), herbs (51%), lettuce (36%), onions (29%), peas (24%), raspberries (23%) and chilies (20%) were most popular choices.

Wong said: "This amounts to only one per cent of what could be grown in the UK. Brits are missing out on countless weird and wonderful flavours and should be more adventurous. From Szechuan peppers and edible fuchsia berries, to tiny cucamelons and even home grown green tea, up to 3,000 edible crops can be grown extremely easily in the UK climate. Not only does it add variety to the ingredients you cook with and help you enjoy a healthier lifestyle, it also saves you. It is much cheaper to grow saffron for instance than to buy it in the shops." 

Although limited space is the largest constraint with 55 per cent of people saying it’s put them off taking the plunge, nearly one in three (31 per cent) are now considering growing their edible crops alongside their ornamental plants and flowers.

Wong said: "As our gardens become smaller and smaller and we appreciate the amazing results that can be achieved in limited spaces, I think we’ll see more people moving away from purely ornamental gardens as they specifically select plants for their edible qualities. You don’t have to have acres of lands to grow your own. Tasty and incredible edible crops can be nurtured from the smallest of spaces on patios, balconies, window boxes and even front doorsteps." 

Di Appleyard, marketing and PR co-ordinator for The National Allotment Society, said: "This research shows just how vital our allotment plots are and how, despite the majority of people in the UK only having access to small gardens and miniscule balconies, we have rediscovered our taste for and appreciation of home grown fruit and vegetables. Events like The Edible Garden Show provide a great opportunity to pick up some tips to get children interested in gardening and keen on eating fresh, healthy food. The inspirational talks and demonstrations give people the confidence."

Nearly half (49 per cent) of those surveyed are choosing to pick up a trowel with their partners and almost one in four (23 per cent) are growing with either their children or grandchildren.

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