Seed firms anticipate boom as mail-order sales escalate

Mail-order seed sales were up to 20 per cent up in 2008, say seed companies, which anticipate further increases in 2009.

Suttons mail-order director Roger Danbury said vegetable seed sales were 20 per cent up in 2008.

"It's a very strong trend. In vegetable seeds there's a lot of new people coming in so we have to provide good information."

He added that sales of fruit plants such as strawberries, raspberry canes and apple trees were likely to go up in 2009, but were unlikely to match vegetable seed sales' increases. Gardening equipment sales are level, vegetable plants are up, while flowers are yet to take off for 2009.

Top growth areas were easy-to-grow vegetable seeds, cut-and-come-again salad seed, seed potatoes and onion sets. Danbury predicted vegetable seeds to be top-sellers again in 2009.

- Meanwhile, mail-order seed supplier DT Brown - a Mr Fothergill's brand - has highlighted in its catalogue 36 varieties that it particularly recommends for flavour, speed of maturity and disease resistance.

The DT Brown Choice selection includes vegetable seeds, three varieties of seed potatoes, an onion set and a shallot. The seeds in the collection may be bought separately, or as a complete set for 10 per cent off at £74.30.

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