Dollars from dirt: Economy spurs home garden boom by Gillian Flaccus, Mar 15, 2009
Apparently there is a huge boom in vegetable gardening. Just look at these numbers quoted in the article:
- Industry surveys show double-digit growth in the number of home gardeners this year and mail-order companies report such a tremendous demand that some have run out of seeds for basic vegetables such as onions, tomatoes and peppers.
- "People's home grocery budget got absolutely shredded and now we've seen just this dramatic increase in the demand for our vegetable seeds. We're selling out," said George Ball, CEO of Burpee Seeds, the largest mail-order seed company in the U.S. "I've never seen anything like it." Burpee saw a 20 percent spike in sales in the last year.
- A new report by the National Gardening Association predicts a 19 percent increase in home gardening in 2009, based on spring seed sales data and a telephone survey. One-fifth of respondents said they planned to start a food garden this year and more than half said they already were gardening to save on groceries.
- Seed companies say this renaissance has rescued their vegetable business after years of drooping sales. Orders for vegetable seeds have skyrocketed, while orders for ornamental flowers are flat or down, said Richard Chamberlin, president of Harris Seeds in Rochester, N.Y.
- Business there has increased 40 percent in the last year, with the most growth among vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes and kitchen herbs that can thrive in small urban plots or patio containers, he said. Harris Seeds recently had to reorder pepper and tomato seeds.
Personally, I wouldn't say that the recession spurred my interest in backyard gardening. I'd been longing to grow my own veggies for all 8 years that I lived in New York City, just knowing how much goes into trucking produce into that smoggy island metropolis. (not to mention, the extremely poor quality of these poor veggies so far from their home) It never seemed to me that this was a long term sustainable option, and I've always much preferred a garden over mowing a lawn!
But, it is certainly interesting to see more of the population getting on this bandwagon. It gives me a little bit more hope for the future.
The article also mentioned there is a petition asking Obama to grow an organic vegetable garden on the White House lawn. I love it! If you'd like to sign it too, here's the link: http://www.eattheview.org/
Update 3/19/09: Well, I'll be darned. Yes he will! The Obamas are going to plant a veggie garden at the Whitehouse! Fantastic.