14:53 24 March 2010
Britain's urban dwellers are dreaming of a greener lives, new research reveals, but are unsure about what they can do to change things for the better.
A survey of over 2,000 people showed that half the people living in towns and cities in the UK want to grow their own vegetable patches or herb gardens, but they don't believe they have enough time or money to do so.
Whether it's a green thumb or a green consciousness, one in two people say they'd love to make better use of their urban space to plant edible greenery.
According to new research by Ronseal, it seems that 80% of urbanites are keen to improve their gardens. However, a quarter say they haven't got the space to do anything.
But living in the city doesn't mean having to sacrifice being green. From balconies to back yards or roof terraces, there are many ways to take advantage of even the smallest amount of space outside of your home.
Almost one in five Brits say they would prefer to make their small urban area more eco friendly, and more than the one in seven want to de-clutter and make it as low maintenance as possible.
'Ground Force' star Charlie Dimmock has stepped up to offer her advice for creating your own glorious garden and make the most of what you've got, especially this Urban Gardens Week March 22-28.
"City dwellers have a great opportunity to really improve their immediate environment from a visual point of view but also in terms of reducing their carbon footprint.
All your gardening
"While many people think making any major difference will cost a lot of money, be difficult or will take a lot of time, it doesn't need to be like this.
"Urban Gardens Week 2010 is all about highlighting how easy it can be to make a positive impact by making lots of small changes, which collectively, can make a huge difference.
"Building a wooden compost area, establishing a recycling space in a shed, or growing your own herbs in a window box, are all simple steps that can make a real difference. All it takes is the right tools, and a little imagination."
Create your own slice of miniature paradise with these top tips from gardening guru Charlie Dimmock:
Get tooled up
Growing your own doesn't mean you need to splash out on a lot of new equipment. You can get started with a spade or a folk or trowel and a good pair of gloves. Most vegetables are easily grown from seeds just follow the simple instructions on the side of the packet. It will save you money as buying plants at a garden centre is expensive and you'll have a much wider choice of veg.
Choose and choose well
It's worth deciding on the vegetables that take up a minimal amount of space and are pretty easy to look after.
Relatively easy vegetables to grow include lettuces, beans, courgettes, radishes, carrots and tomatoes. As a beginner, avoid celery, asparagus, cucumber and cauliflower which can be quite temperamental and difficult to look after.
Size doesnt matter
It's a misconception that you need a huge garden in order to cultivate your own veg.
With some clever planning, you can create a growing space in even the smallest of gardens or balconies. You can grow vegetables and flowers together in a flower border, raised bed or container which is not only a great space saving solution but will look really pretty too.
If you're really stuck for space, then consider window boxes. These are a fantastic way to grow herbs, such as basil, chives and rosemary, cut and come again salad leaves and even chilli plants.
But what's important here is to make sure they're not too exposed, as strong winds or rain can damage them.
One of the advantages of growing your own vegetables is that you can avoid eating produce that has been grown using chemicals or pesticides. Compost will feed and condition the soil which is great for your plants and the environment not only does garden compost recycle your garden and kitchen waste but around 40% of the average dustbin contents are suitable for home-composting so it helps cut down on landfill too.
For more hints and information, visit www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/ronseal
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