Tropical fruit to be grown in the UK

Sainsbury’s is leading the way for trials to see if avocados can be grown in Britain. The fruit is currently imported from sub-tropical parts of the world like Peru, Chile, Spain, South Africa and Israel.
The experiment has already begun with avocado plants being grown in a large greenhouse. Growers will have to monitor the levels of humidity and nutrients in the soil as well as ensuring that the temperature is kept above 45F (7C).
If the experiment is a success, Sainsbury’s will not have a problem with demand as they already import 25 million avocados a year.
Clancy McMahon, Sainsbury’s avocado buyer said, “We are at the forefront of a fruit revolution by bringing a little bit of the tropics to British shores. We are confident we can grow avocados with the right consistency, flavour and quality.”
The trials started last year in West Dean Gardens, near Chichester in West Sussex. The greenhouse is under the watchful eye of Jim Buckland, estate manager who keeps an eye on the temperature of the greenhouse.
He said, “This is very much an experiment to see if we can grow avocados in our climate and if it’s possible to do it on a large scale. We have had them for seven months and hope they’ll take off in the spring.
“The winter period will be critical because the crucial factor is sunlight. In summer they need lots of water – they are thirsty plants.”
The plants are doing well so far, as they have grown to 6 ft in height, as a result of lots of care and attention and a nicely heated home.

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