Do more to promote fruit growing, HTA tells garden centres

Garden centres and growers should look to promote fruit growing, the HTA has said, after new research from Plant For Life revealed the trend for grow-your-own has more than doubled.

More than half of gardeners in the UK (54 per cent) now grow their own food, compared to one-fifth (22 per cent) two years ago.

But only just over one-third (36 per cent) grow fruit trees and shrubs, preferring vegetables and salad crops instead.

Plant For Life and the HTA have now teamed up with Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins to promote fruit tree and berry growing.

Almost two-thirds (62 per cent) would like to grow their own fruit trees and berries. Strawberries were top choice (24 per cent), followed by apples and raspberries.

But 39 per cent do not think they have enough space to plant, 29 per cent have not thought about growing fruit and 23 per cent do not know what varieties they can grow in their gardens.

HTA consultant David Gilchrist said: "Despite the surge in grow-your-own gardening, many people still overlook the possibilities of home- grown fruits and berries. But there is an increasing number of tasty, unusual fruit such as gooseberries and loganberries that will happily grow in the UK climate. Growing your own fruit can be very rewarding — not only does it taste better but is friendly to the environment and, more importantly, you know where it's come from."

Just 31 per cent of respondents to the Plant For Life research knew that they could grow currants, 27 per cent peaches and just 22 per cent apricots. More than two-fifths (41 per cent) also mistakenly believed that fruit trees and berries should be planted in spring, rather than autumn.



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