For more information about this British vegetable-gardening trend, go to: Guardian Unlimited.
If we believe the English are trendsetters in the gardening world, then we all better tune up our veggie beds. Vegetable gardening has always been the poor cousin to flower gardening in England and America. Other than in times of need, such as during the Depression and World War II, flower gardening has always been more popular than vegetable gardening. But in Britain this trend is changing.
The prestigious Sutton Seed Company, which sells nearly one-third of all household vegetable seeds in the United Kingdom, expects a 30 percent increase in vegetable seed sales this spring. Other English seed companies report a corresponding 32 percent decrease in flower seed sales. For the first time since World War II, vegetable seed sales are outpacing flower seed sales. Horticultural trade experts speculate the reason more Brits are growing their own food stems from a desire not to be beholden to large supermarkets, awareness about healthy food and the environment, and dissatisfaction with industrially grown foods.
It's not only home vegetable gardens that are expanding. English allotment or community gardens are full, and plots are nearly as hard to get as a place in a good school. Also, it's not primarily middle-aged men who are growing vegetables, as in the past. There's a new wave of 30-plus, upscale gardeners driving the sales.
Article published on June 23, 2008.