herald

Saturday 3 December 2016

Home gardening industry is booming

GARDENING

Like many of you, I spent some time over the glorious Easter week in a garden centre. I'm absolutely not green-fingered but if I can get a crop of tomatoes and some herbs going, anyone can. Well, research from Bord Bia has shown that home gardening is now worth €631m to the economy - a 22pc increase since 2011. Flowers, shrubs and hanging baskets account for €126m; Bertie must be chuffed!

While women over 55 account for the highest proportion of spending, those under 35 are far more likely to start with herbs, vegetables and fruit. I started with some good advice and a simple few plants, as I do most years; there's no danger of me giving Gerry Daly a run for his money any time soon. Although I get a great garden crop of blueberries and blackcurrants, I'm proudest of those plants I grow from seedlings. If you don't have a garden, don't worry. Herbs and small veg grow perfectly well in sunny indoor spots or on a balcony or windowsill. There's such a thrill harvesting your first crop and you're far more careful of how you use it than if it were shop bought, so it cuts down on food waste. It also tastes completely different from plastic covered produce. Getting the kids involved is fantastic even if it's just a tall sunflower. Check out www.bordbia.ie; www.garden.ie; www.howtogarden.ie; and www.gardeners.ie or, as I did, the very enthusiastic people in your nearest garden centre.

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