Almost half of Brits will grow food in kitchen gardens this season: permaculture expert Huw Richards, shares his advice

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Posted 11 months ago

Home grown food from kitchen gardens is firmly on the menu this summer as 44 percent of Brits will plant and grow fruit and vegetables in their gardens, window boxes or balconies this season. For one in three people (31 percent) it is with the intention to lead a more sustainable life by eating what they yield. 

Strawberries, tomatoes and potatoes are the top three fruits and vegetables people are growing at home this year,  according to the YouGov research for Readly digital magazine and newspaper app.

– With cost on the agenda this year, you may be surprised that salads are perhaps the best money-saving crop out there because they are incredibly productive on a small scale and can be continuously picked and eaten. If flavour is important then planting a diverse herb garden is one of the simplest ways to greatly influence the taste of what you create in the kitchen.

If you are new to growing this season or taking it to the next level then now is the perfect time to get your hands dirty, says Huw Richards, gardener, author and a leading voice in permaculture and kitchen gardens

Five tips for growing your own food from Huw Richards, gardener, author, expert in permaculture and Readly gardening spokesperson:

  1. Focus on growing high-value crops that are cheap to grow but rather expensive to buy! One example is salads and annual herbs – a packet of lettuce seed could keep a whole family self-sufficient in lettuce from spring to autumn if you stagger the sowing!
  2. Utilize vertical spaces as much as possible; grow climbing crops up walls and fences such as peas, cucumbers, climbing beans, and even pumpkins if you tie them! A great way to grow strawberries or salads is in gutters attached to a boundary. One fun project is to create an archway using wood (hazel or bamboo) between two beds or large containers to grow peas or runner beans up.
  3. Buy a mint or basil plant from a supermarket and take some cuttings from them and place in a pot of water. These will soon send out roots that you can then pot on into compost and grow into big plants. Continue taking more cuttings so you get an unlimited supply!
  4. Research ideas for what you will grow and plant by getting inspiration from friends and family, gardeners or reading all the gardening magazines on an app such as Readly.
  5. Grow veggies and eat the leaves: Did you know that many vegetables also have edible leaves? Beetroot, carrots, turnip, broccoli, swede, garden peas, and onions all have leaves which you can eat; providing you with an additional harvest from one crop.

When it comes to time invested in kitchen gardening this year, almost one in ten people (8 percent) believe they will spend 6-8 hours a week in their garden. A third (22 percent) will spend 1-2 hours or 3-5 hours (30 percent) each week. 

In terms of spaces, 9 in 10 people (88 percent) will grow in outdoor spaces, whilst one in three (27 percent) will be planting indoors and 6 percent will work on balcony boxes or allotments.

The top 10 fruits and vegetables UK respondents said they will grow at home this year are:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Tomatoes
  3. Potatoes
  4. Raspberries
  5. Apples
  6. Cucumber
  7. Blueberries
  8. Rhubarb
  9. Runner beans
  10. Blackberries

The Readly app has a magazine or article for every type of kitchen gardener, from the beginner to the advanced from the allotment owner to the balcony or window boxes. Readly is giving 2 months of unlimited reading to over 7,000 digital magazines and newspapers including top food and gardening titles this season with a special offer until 31st May 2023, visit www.readly.com/gardening.