Real Solutions - How to keep up grow your own momentum

This months' edition of HW sister magazine Garden Retail asks industry experts for their top tips on the best ways that garden centres can grow sales of grow your own. Here is a selection of their answers.

Garden media - Recommend potager gardening for small spaces

"Retailers on the edge of large towns or in conurbations should remember that customers' gardens in the catchment area are smaller than their rural counterparts.

"Suggest that they try potager gardening (planting vegetables in the flower beds). Potagers tend to use vegetables that are chosen for their decorative qualities. For instance, recommend trying red peppers among white or blue bedding for an unusual bed, or marrows climbing a supporting frame with bright nasturtiums beneath."

Graham Clarke, Garden writer

Garden centre - Encourage staff to create fruit and vegetable 'theatre'

"We let our staff do what they want in terms of one-off, ad hoc displays.

"It might be someone from the giftware department who comes up with an idea for a fruit-and-veg display, for example. They might even get a little prize for their creativity.

"It's a good morale booster and gets some interesting and innovative displays that many customers comment on and remember."

Simon Edwards, operations director, Golden Acres Nursery and Garden Centre Group

Garden media - Promote the use of containers

"Allotment gardeners of the old school were not very enthusiastic about the fashion for container vegetable growing. Such crops as carrots and potatoes are better in rows across the plot, in their view.

"I have some sympathy for the ground-grown crops, which do not need daily watering. On the other hand, keel slugs are a real pest of potatoes in my heavy clay soil, and carrot fly causes damage where crops are not covered by Enviromesh. Pot-grown potatoes and carrots largely avoid these issues."

Peter Seabrook, Gardening editor, The Sun

Seed supplier - Promote the flavour of grow your own

"Things such as runner beans and any of the Brassica family, which includes cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli, kale Brussels sprouts - and even turnips, tend to taste better soon after they have been picked.

"Tomatoes, particularly, have a wide variety of flavours and growing your own means that you can choose the variety that suits you, rather than having to buy only what the supermarket decides to offer."

Colin Randel, Vegetable Product Manager, Thompson & Morgan.

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