Growing our own food is increasing in popularity. People are rediscovering the sense of achievement when something you have grown yourself is served up and enjoyed.
With the school holidays here, one good way of keeping children occupied is by teaching them about growing their own vegetables. They need to know that vegetables do not magically appear, plastic- wrapped, on supermarket shelves.
They take several weeks from seed to edible product and outdoor gardening is often a battle against the weather and potential pests.
Some schools in the UK have started their own vegetable plots so children can raise and eat their own produce. This is an excellent idea and one which many can try at home, even if it is just a pot of salad leaves on a window sill.
For people without space, allotments are a good solution. Unfortunately, they have become so popular that none are available from Solihull Council at the moment. The Council’s website (www.solihull.gov.uk) advises those who want to be added to the waiting list to fill in an application form.
Private allotments sometimes become available. In February, Blooms Garden Centre in Hampton-in-Arden opened 44 plots for rent.
Plots included a composter and access to a water trough and some had greenhouses. Blooms allocated one plot for disabled users and one for community use. They also allocated a free plot to the Heart of England Business and Enterprise School.
This was a good start locally. The National Society of Allotment & Leisure Gardeners (www.nsalg.org.uk) says there are more than 100,000 people on the UK waiting list for allotments. So let’s hope that more garden centres and other landowners make more plots available.