More than 40pc of British households with a garden, allotment or balcony garden are growing their own produce to avoid paying higher prices at the shops, according to research by comparison website Compare the Market.
Ms Hooper estimated that her vegetable patch saves her between £10 and £15 a week in food costs, adding up to about £60 a month. She said: “The garden pretty much gives me all my veg for the week. I’m a versatile cook and use what I have growing outside – French beans, tomatoes, courgettes and chillies.
“Herbs are expensive so my herb garden really helps keep costs down. It’s so nice to go out there and get it fresh.”
In the winter Ms Hooper will grow sprouts and kale, and make soups and freeze produce to make it last longer.
She shares her surplus harvest with friends and family – a growing trend amid the cost of living crisis.
Allotment holders are forbidden from selling the fruits of their labour for a profit, but it is common for the community to swap produce and, increasingly, donate fresh fruit and vegetables to food banks.
Ms Hooper said there had been a “definite increase” in gardeners applying for membership of her allotment group as households came under pressure from higher bills. “There has always been demand for allotments, but this has been one of our busiest years.”