planting, fishing & awards

Over half of you grow some of your own veg. Unfortunately, given our climatic limitations, you tend to grow the same crops as us. A few of you have even credited us with inspiring you to get the spade out. As a result, our deliveries can drop off in the summer and autumn before the gardeners return around November. There is no point in fighting the tide, so for the last three years we have been putting our experience of growing to use to supply plants and seeds as Boxes to Grow, helping you grow your own. There are a number of options, whether you have just a window box, a few containers or a full blown veg garden to plant in. There are herb, veg and a cutting flower boxes and you can order now for delivery in April and May. The kits come with a planting guide to get you started and are suitable whether you’re a complete novice or you know what you’re doing. Plus, Penny Hemming, our resident gardener, is on hand to provide tips and assistance: see her blog at blog.riverford.co.uk.

Another addition we have considered for our range is fish. Every time we investigate, I am put off by the controversy over what constitutes a sustainably caught fish and also concerns about being able to deliver it in the right condition. Unbelievably, a lot of fish sold as fresh has been dead for ten days or more and it is hard to know who to trust an industry that routinely ravages the sea bottom with beam trawlers and scallop dredgers, while discarding vast quantities of the catch. A truly sustainable policy would define not just the species, but the method of catching and would ensure a market for the whole catch. I hope we will be able to offer fish before too long, but in the meantime I urge you to sign Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s petition calling for more marine reserves at www.fishfight.net. 

Finally, The Observer is calling for nominations in its annual Ethical Awards. If you like what we do, please vote for us in the Retailer of the Year category at www.guardian.co.uk/observer-ethical-awards by Friday 22nd March. 

Thank you.

Guy Watson