15 MAY 1941, Page 11


Vegetable-Prices A visit to my local nurseryman was illuminating. For whereas, some months ago, he had been willing to sell me his Sunday hat, he now greeted me with what I thought was a joke. "Any- thing to sell?" But I soon saw that he meant it. "Anything," he said. "Lettuces, radishes, cabbages, anything. A few flowers? A couple of dozen tulips? I'll buy anything you've got." When I replied with that casual pride which is part of my gardener's make-up that I had lettuces, young carrots and even new potatoes there was no holding his joy. I was a merchant dealing in luxuries ; it was too bad that they were only for my own con- sumption, and after that piece of news he was a changed man. Now when a nurseryman with some acres of glass begins to beg for supplies from a private gardener there must be a very good reason. Yet this man's price for the lettuces he had such diffi- culty in getting was only fourpence, which was reasonable and proper. From London, however, there still comes a different story. A correspondent to a daily paper complains bitterly of the following prices asked for salad-vegetables, and with justification: Cucumbers, Is. 6d. to 2s. 6d.; lettuces, sod. to is. ; spring onions, 8d. (about a dozen) ; mustard and cress, 4d. per punnet ; radishes, 8d. per bunch. To urge the public to eat more salads and yet allow the continuance of these prices is absurd. Yet every gardener has a remedy, and can make no sounder investment, some time between now and next autumn, than a few dozen cloches and at least one garden frame. The most fantastic prices for out-of-season salads will then trouble him no longer.