Grow your own - trendy gardening
I'm not one to follow most trends. If there's a new plant that has become a 'must-have', then there's a good chance that I'll not be finding space for it in my garden....and there's also a distinct possibility that I will be unlikely to be recommending it to gardeners I come across, broadcast to or write for.
So why all this obstinacy? Quite simply, a trend is not worth following unless it is worthwhile.
But there has been one trend in recent years that's really proven its worth. It's grown and grown and seems to show little sign of stopping.....and I'm a full-on dedicated fan.
That trend? Grow Your Own, often fondly abbreviated to GYO. It is great, useful, fun and certainly well worth the effort!
There is nothing better to do in the garden than grow veg, fruit and herbs and it seems that there are millions who feel the same. Most seed companies I talk to report a steady increase in veg seed sales over the last few years, and ready-grown veg plants too have taken off.
And the great thing is that it is getting easier and easier to find out more about growing your own food. Kitchen gardening even has its own high-profile garden show these days: the new Edible Garden Show, at Stoneleigh in Warwickshire from 18th to 20th March, is dedicated to the edible things you can grow or produce in your own back yard, from veg, herbs and fruit, to hens for eggs and bees for honey.
There are bigger and better sections on veg growing in gardening magazines, and GYO supplements: and they're all reflecting what's going on out in the garden. Just last weekend I was thrilled to be asked to open a massive, brand new allotment site in Hook in Hampshire.
The excitement was unmistakable as everyone was officially allowed to start preparing their plots. And the great thing was that many of the plot-holders were new to allotments and new to veg growing, and were all ages from tiny toddlers in fancy wellies, to older folk who had a good few years experience.
Some say it is all down to the credit crunch, but I don't think so. It has been happening since long before most of us had heard of the ever-deeping financial crisis, let alone been hit by it.
I reckon it's a lot simpler than that. Humans like to be able to fend for themselves, and in recent years that's something we have been doing less and less of. But if you grab the chance to grow your own edibles, you'll soon start to get the fantastic buzz that I know and love. The feeling of self worth is massive, of achievement is awesome, and the taste of home grown, deliciously fresh fruit and veg is something that you'll never want to give up.
So all I can say is, if you've tried growing your own veg and other edibles and been less than impressed with the results, or if you've never dared take up the veg garden trowel, give it a go this year. There's still plenty of time to grow just about every crop you might want. And in the meantime, you can get some inspiration from a visit to the Edible Garden Show. While you're there, come and visit me on my stand - and I'll persuade you to take up Grow Your Own!
Pippa Greenwood runs her own organic kitchen garden in Hampshire, in between dispensing advice as a regular panellist on BBC Radio 4's Gardeners' Question Time. She will also be answering questions on all things GYO-related at the Edible Garden Show at Stoneleigh in Warwickshire from 18-20 March.