More and more people are growing their own fruit and vegetables at home with garden centres around the country reporting an increase in the sales of vegetable plants. While gardening has always been a popular pastime in New Zealand, vegetable gardens in particular seem to be growing in popularity and Manager of Oderings Nurseries, Diana Johnson, said sales of vegetable plants had been increasing over the past two or three years. There are a number of reasons for the trend including a desire for fresh, better tasting vegetables and rising food prices. Many people also like to know exactly where their food comes from and whether it has been sprayed with chemicals.
Rising food prices have meant it is more economical to have a vegetable garden and Vikki Manning from the Salvation Army Budgeting Service said that growing vegetables at home was a money saving move some people are now taking. Statistics New Zealand reported a 12.5 percent increase in fruit and vegetable prices in the year to October 2008 and a recent survey carried out by the Waikato Times found that 22% of its readers had started growing fruit and vegetables as a cost cutting activity.
Having a vegetable garden can also provide a way for people to spend time with their children and maintaining a garden is a relaxing activity to do over the summer. Buying from farmers markets or growing your own vegetables and herbs for home cooking is also becoming more popular with celebrity chefs promoting home grown produce on their television shows. Growing your own vegetables can be very rewarding and you don’t need a big space. Lettuce, herbs, potatoes, strawberries and tomatoes are all popular plants to grow and if you live in an apartment, they can even be grown in pots on the deck.
This article was contributed by Anita Jones.