Figures from the Horticultural Trade Association's (HTA) Garden Industry Monitor data shows that sales of the seeds of edible plants and young vegetable plants, which have been increasing over the last few years, increased a further 30% in 2008. Along with vegetables it is also anticipated that there will also be an increase in the number of people growing their own fruit this year as well. Coupled with strong media interest and spurred on by high profile celebrities such as Jamie Oliver, many people will decide to take that first step towards growing their own this season.
HTA's Director General David Gwyther said, "Our society is becoming less materialistic, people are becoming more aware of their local environment - whether it be a garden, an allotment or a backyard. The recession is adding to these incentives to spend more time in the garden and less time on external and expensive diversions like eating out and taking expensive holidays.
"This is of course very good news for the UK garden industry which always demonstrates resilience in difficult economic times. Those who are embarking on 'grow your own' for the first time would be well advised to pay a visit to their local garden centre or nursery to set them on their way. Many garden centres are holding events, demonstrations and talks on the 'grow your own' theme and have knowledgeable and helpful staff on hand to help you get started."
He adds, "The key is for those people who are going to try growing their own produce for the first time this year to have success - and then they will be encouraged to continue growing in subsequent years. In time this will help to develop a whole new generation of gardeners - which is great news for the garden industry."
If you are thinking about having a go here are some tips to bear in mind.
Top Ten tips for growing your own
1. Keep it simple - try growing 'easy vegetables' at first such as potatoes, tomatoes, cut-and-come-again salad leaves, chillies, beetroot and radish.
2. Don't be too ambitious - just try a few vegetables first time around
3. Don't be put off if you haven't got an allotment or garden - many vegetables and fruit grow well in containers and hanging baskets. You may just want to grow some herbs on your windowsill or balcony.
4. Consider buying young vegetable plants to simplify the process initially
5. Go along to your local garden centre to get advice and guidance from the experts.
6. Attend a 'grow your own' event at your local garden centre to help get you started.
7. It does not require heavy investment - make use of resources that you have - yoghurt pots, cardboard tubes make great seed pots.
8. Get the kids involved - digging for potatoes is like searching for buried treasure!
9. Have fun, get fit and enjoy the experience.
10. Revel in the satisfaction of eating home grown vegetables!