While the array of salad, herb, vegetables and soft fruit available in supermarkets, and Waitrose in particular, is impressive, it is easy to overlook the environmental cost of transporting produce from all over the globe. The UK’s self sufficiency ratio (the amount we produce ourselves!) has fallen from a peak of 87% in the mid 1990s to just 68% today, pointing to a rapidly growing dependence on imports. The food we eat in the UK travels a staggering estimated 19 billion miles a year. Unfortunately, much of what is produced ends up as waste due to short sell by dates.
The nutrient value of crops diminishes considerably during transportation with spinach, for example, losing 90% of its vitamin C in just 24 hours! Misleadingly, the labeled content of supermarket produce is presented at the time of picking, not at the time of consumption (bit naughty really) meaning that 5 portions a day of supermarket produce often isn’t providing all it should do.
Growing your own provides a great way of reducing your carbon footprint and improving your wellbeing. The idea of fresh produce at your fingertips is widely appealing but we’ve all watched enough episodes of the Good Life to appreciate the trials and tribulations involved. The renaissance in demand for allotments shows perhaps that we have not all been put off. However, for many of us it remains an aspiration unlikely to be realised given the limitations on our time, inadequate space and either not knowing where to start or inglorious past failures!
Ergrownomics, an Abergavenny based company, have developed a new raised planter that allows salad, herbs, vegetables and soft fruit to be grown both reliably and sustainably. The planters are compact enough to fit into the smallest of gardens (there are several models that can be configured to fit any space) and are a comfortable working height (growing your own shouldn’t be back breaking!). The patented design features an in-built training system that allows crops to be grown at high density thus making the planters highly productive. Watering is achieved by simply plugging your hose onto a tap connector; the drip irrigation system provided is highly efficient and conserves water. Furthermore, the planters are built to last and come with an unprecedented 10 year warranty.
Ergrownomic planters can be used simply to outplant supermarket herbs (which do surprisingly well) or to grow on cell grown seedlings in packs available in garden centres. Seed tape also works brilliantly as this can be cut to the length of the defined planting rows and avoids the frustration of sowing fine seed evenly and the need for thinning. For those still reluctant to venture into growing their own, Ergrownomics provide a weekly blog that you can follow that tells you precisely what to grow, when and how, it’s the next best thing to a tutorial from Monty Don!
For further information go to: www.ergrownomics.co.uk or telephone Alan on 01873 890007