Vegetable shortage sees spike in seed sales in Scotland

Cardwell Garden Centre's gardening expert Brian Hawthorne has seen lettuce seed sales soar. Picture: PA
Cardwell Garden Centre's gardening expert Brian Hawthorne has seen lettuce seed sales soar. Picture: PA
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Garden centres and nurseries across parts of Scotland have reported a spike in seed sales as consumers look to grow their own vegetables after bad weather across Europe causes a shortage in supplies.

With some supermarkets out of stock of lettuce and the price of the vegetable rocketing in those that still have supplies, increasing numbers of consumers are choosing to grow their own.

Cardwell Garden Centre in Gourock, Inverclyde, said sales of lettuce seed have nearly doubled in recent weeks, while Pearsons of Duns in the Scottish Borders said it too had witnessed an upsurge in packet sales.

Across the country, the homes and garden retailer, Wilko, said online sales of seeds jumped by 272 per cent in the past week compared to the same period last year.

However, other garden centres in Scotland said there had been no change in sales, and advised customers not to try to grow their own lettuce as it was too early in the year.

It comes as leading retailers including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, have in some cases started to ration lettuce, courgettes and aubergines after floods and storms ruined crops in southern Europe, squeezing supply.

Management at the Cardwell centre said they have been inundated with requests for advice on how to grow lettuce both indoors and in outside gardens.

The centre’s horticulturist, Brian Hawthorne, said: “In all my years working as a horticulturist I’ve never known so many people coming into the garden centre asking how they can grow their own lettuce and courgettes.”

Angela Lindsday, senior garden centre assistant at Pearsons of Duns, said it too had seen a “noticable increase” in seed sales.

However, Fiona Hutchison, who runs Kinlochlaich garden plant centre in Appin, said sales had not changed, and advised people against trying to grow their own at the moment.

“It’s the wrong time of year to grow those type of vegetables,” she explained. “I think we need to go back to eating and growing seasonal fruit and vegetables.”