An allotment scheme set up by a Waterford man has become one of the most successful grow-it-yourself groups in the world after expanding its franchise to Australia.

Grow It Yourself, set up last year by Michael Kelly, has gone from 100 members to 6,000 in the past 12 months as an increasing amount of Irish people choose to grow their own vegetables.

There are now over 80 not-for-profit groups across Ireland and new branches have been established Down Under.

Kelly, who was previously a journalist and is now working full-time on the project, said the idea started as an experiment.

"I was working as a journalist when I spotted a clove of garlic in a local supermarket which said that it was made in China. I thought it was odd that we are importing something so simple from thousands of miles away. I tried to grow my own garlic, which worked out very well and decided after that to start growing all my own vegetables."

Kelly placed an advertisement in a local paper which saw the start of the now international group.

"A hundred people turned up to the first night. After that I started getting calls from people in other counties wanting to set up their own branch, and we have expanded to have branches of Grow It Yourself across the world."