Vegetable seedling sales are rocketing as New Zealanders are responding to high vegetable prices in supermarkets and grocery stores by growing their own little cabbage patch.
Sales of vegetable seeds, seedling plants and associated gardening supplies are undergoing a spring growth spurt at Mitre 10, New Zealand’s largest garden supplies chain, with seed sales up 45% across Mitre 10’s 98 store network.
“Lettuce and broccoli seeds are the most popular choice with the 71,000 seed packets we sold in August up a massive 45% on the same sales period in August last year,” says Mitre 10 General Manager Marketing, Dave Elliott.
“We are seeing that trend continuing so far in September and we’re not even close to Labour Weekend which is traditionally the boom time for garden supply sales.”
Mr Elliot said he had no doubt the price spike in vegetable prices across the counter had sparked the huge demand for seeds, potted vegetables and herbs.
“For some it seems that growing your own vegetables is no longer a choice but a necessity. Our herb sales are up 30%, demand for potted vegetables (plants up to 10cms) is very high but the big one for us has been strawberries.
“We sold more than 30,000 strawberry plants in August so I think it’s a pretty safe bet that many of the Christmas pavlovas will be decorated with home grown strawberries this year.
Mr Elliot said there was notable nationwide sales growth in associated garden supply lines.
“We’ve recently introduced a new line of kitset, galvanised iron vegetable beds that fit into very small sections or even on the balcony of an apartment. They’ve been selling surprisingly well.
“Our locally owned store network runs the length of the country across just about all the provincial and main centres in both the North and South Islands so we have a very good feel for what’s happening nationally.
“There was certainly growth in the home-grown vege market last year, but nothing like this.”