It's no secret that being cooped up during lockdown forced many of us to develop new interests and hobbies in a bid to stay positive.

Now research has revealed the past year saw an increasing number of Britons discover their green fingers as they battled to shake off the tedium imposed by Covid-19.

Growing fruit and vegetables at home has officially taken root, with more than half of adults cultivating their own produce during the last 12 months, according to the new study from Linda McCartney Foods (LMF).

The trend is particularly popular among younger adults, with six in 10 18-to-34 year-olds (58 per cent) now growing their own. This is more than any other age group.

Saving money (32%), helping the environment (23%), being more sustainable (28%) and eating more fruit and veg (15 %) are the main drivers, researchers found.

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And the most popular items to grow are tomatoes, herbs, and strawberries, followed by carrots and runner beans.

However, vegetarian food company LMF – which was created 30 years ago by musician, photographer and activist Linda McCartney, best known as the first wife of Beatles icon Paul McCartney – also discovered 70% of adults want to grow even more produce at home but are unable to.

The biggest barrier is lack of space (27%), with half of adults – including 66% of 18-to-34 year-olds –wishing they had a bigger garden area.

Another 13% simply wish they had a garden. Young adults again suffer more than other age groups in this respect – 3% cent compared with 9%.

In order to help people like these, LMF has announced its Grow Your Own with Linda’s initiative to coincide with National Vegetarian Week and its 30th anniversary.

The scheme will see “growing spaces” built in urban areas throughout the country, while a Grow Your Own Guide will be available on the LMF website in the coming weeks.

Welcoming the development, Sir Paul McCartney said: “We’re so pleased to bring this initiative to people across the UK and continue the legacy of kindness that Linda set out with for her veggie food company, 30 years ago.

“Linda aimed to show that being kind didn’t mean having to compromise on eating delicious food.” He added: “Through this project, we hope we can empower more people across the UK to try growing, and eating, their own.

“Dig in and have fun.”

The LMF study also found two thirds of adults enjoy growing so much they would happily live off their own homegrown foods if they could.

Home growers already enjoy an average of three meals a week containing produce they have cultivated themselves.

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It also emerged that 72% believe growing your own food produce is good for mental health, while 68% agree it also encourages you to adhere to a better diet.

Other benefits to home-grown food include giving individuals a reason to get outside (52%) and being more ethical than some mass produced foods (29 %).

And notably, 48% think home-grown tastes better than items purchased from shops.

However, the study, carried out through OnePoll, found two thirds (66%) would like to have greater fruit and veg growing knowledge, with those aged 18 to 34 especially keen (77%).

As well as this, 32% of all adults have little in the way of green space where they live, while 37% often struggle to find somewhere they can go to switch off.

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Expert grower and gardener, Diarmuid Gavin, who is offering his expertise on the project, said: “This has been such a great initiative to be involved with, especially at a moment when the outdoors and nature has become even more precious in lockdown."

He added: “I hope the Grow Your Own Guide can be an inspiration for people in flats, tower blocks and without much outdoor space to see just how much they can grow with their own hands and a few recycled containers.”

Almost half of Britons (46%) revealed their passion for growing produce at home has increased during the last 12 months.

And while the most popular place to grow produce is the garden (65%), other notable locations include the kitchen (27%) and the bathroom (11 %).

One in 10 (11%) have also turned their balconies into an area for cultivating fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs