Monday, January 19, 2009
'Serious' gardening in tough times
People have tomatoes in mind this winter
Jim Snyder, a Michigan farmer, may have captured an emerging trend of our times in his recent Farmers for the Future blog post, where he wrote: "Seed catalogs have been pouring in and we are busy planning this year’s gardens. Gardening has taken on a more serious nature due to the economy."
Doug Jimerson, gardening editor for our big sister site, Better Homes and Gardens , tells me that this new seriousness about gardening is real.
"Actually we do predict a big uptick in gardening, in particular, food gardening," he says. "We've been also hearing from many seed suppliers that sales of veggie seeds are on a big upswing."
Our company research indicates not only that vegetable gardening is one of the big trends this year, Jimerson says, but also that the number one appliance being sold is freezers.
In early returns from an Agriculture Online poll on the topic, half of respondents say they will be growing a bigger garden this year.
"With this economy, you can bet on more and bigger gardens," one farmer wrote in response to the poll. "We finally tilled up a spot near the house and planted our first garden here last year. Wondered why we didn't do it sooner!"
If it's a little hard to imagine Americans actually relying on their gardens in tough economic times, well, the idea takes me back to the farms and small town of my childhood, where it seemed everyone grew a big backyard garden and many folks canned and froze food. Back then, people were still mindful of war-time shortages and their rural roots.
Another example I’ve seen of hard times sending people to the garden was in Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In visiting a number of Russian farms where reliable input suppliers and markets had dried up, I saw cellars full of beautiful home-grown produce, enough to feed the farms through about three long Russian winters it seemed. Nobody was looking to Moscow for help.
This January, people must already be thinking spring. The top-clicked page in Edible Gardening on our big-sister site is Tips for Starting Tomatoes.
I think tomatoes are my favorite garden vegetable. I’m going to grow more of them this year.
Posted by John Walter at 1:06 PM