Kitchen gardens are a gardening priority this year says gardening expert, Huw Richards


Following the prolonged wet weather, over half of Brits (53 percent) said they will be focussing on ‘maintaining’ their garden this year, whilst 44 percent will plant and grow fruit and vegetables and 38 percent will be planting ‘low cost’ plants and flowers, according to the YouGov research for Readly digital magazine and newspaper app.

Other gardening priorities include planting bushes or trees (36 percent), creating a green oasis in the home (31 percent) and the design and look of outdoor gardens (21 percent). A third (34 percent) will focus efforts on getting their garden in shape for hosting social engagement this season.

The purpose of kitchen-gardening this season for one in three people (31 percent) is to eat what they yield with the intention of leading a more sustainable life. Strawberries, tomatoes and potatoes are the top three fruits and vegetables people will be growing this year. 

Others will be gardening to make their home prettier or more inspiring (64 percent), for fresh air and physical activity (63 percent), to relax (59 percent), to learn a new skill (19 percent) and to unleash creativity (15 percent). 

– There’s nothing quite like growing your own food, plants, herbs or anything that brings you joy. Your garden is a canvas which you can colour with your passions and the secret for having a garden you love is to let your curiosity and inspiration guide you. 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.

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If you are new to growing this season or feel it is the year to take it to the next level then now is the perfect time to get your hands dirty. The Readly app is a good place to start with lots of great gardening magazines to harvest your knowledge and inspiration for the beginner gardener and families through to advanced techniques too, says Huw Richards, gardener, author and a leading voice in permaculture and kitchen gardens

When it comes to time invested in 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 gardening spaces, 9 in 10 people (88 percent) will garden outdoor green spaces, whilst one in three (27 percent) will be planting indoors and 6 percent will work on balcony boxes or allotments.

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Huw Richards’ kitchen garden tips:

  1. Grow what you like eating! You want to be filled with the anticipation of being able to eat some of your favourite foods – grown yourself!
  1. Focus on getting your first harvest under your belt as quickly as possible. Pea shoots are perfect for this – ready for eating in as little as 2-3 weeks from sowing and even works on a windowsill! As soon as you experience your first-ever taste of homegrown produce, you will be confident and motivated to grow as much as possible!
  1. There is no such thing as too much homemade compost. You can’t have a thriving garden without it; the more compost you can make, the more money you can save.
  1. Plant up pots and containers with edible flowers such as nasturtium, calendula, and borage which are all fantastic for encouraging pollinators to pollinate your crops, and add splashes of colour throughout.
  1. Grow in raised beds with sides – You have no encroaching grass to deal with, it splits the garden into manageable sections, and there is less bending down. Don’t go wider than 4ft 1.2m so you can reach the middle from both sides.

Almost 1 in 3 (32 percent) of Brits reported getting their gardening inspiration from their parents, 43 percent relied on trial and error and almost 1 in 5 (19 percent) are self-taught green fingers from reading gardening magazines and blogs.

The Readly app has a magazine or gardening article for every type of gardener, from the beginner to the advanced from the allotment owner to the balcony or window boxes. With thousands of titles as part of the unlimited digital reading subscription, it has hours of gardening inspiration and information.

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– We have seen a surge of interest in our gardening category over the last few years as people have spent more time at home and this continues to be a popular pastime post pandemic.  With coronation parties and bank holiday weekends approaching, people are reading the breath of gardening titles on our app to get party-ready and gain knowledge and inspiration for planting fruit and veg to lead more self-sufficient and sustainable lives, says Chris Couchman, Head of Content at Readly.

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

Readly is giving 2 months of unlimited reading to over 7,000 digital magazines and newspapers including top gardening titles (including Kitchen Garden) this season with a special offer until 31st May 2023, visit www.readly.com/gardening.

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Steve Ott
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