GIY: Hot Trend (and Acronym) for 2009

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Espaliered apples at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

It took me years to figure out that DIY meant Do-It-Yourself, but the acronym I’ve been hearing and seeing for 2009 is GIY — Grow It Yourself.  This was the No. 2 garden trend for 2009 identified by Garden Media Group, a market research company that tracks trends for the industry every year. (The No. 1 trend for 2009 is — you guessed it — eco-everything.) Grow-it-Yourself means that more people are doing their own gardening (as opposed to hiring a landscaper for the job). It also means that more people, particularly young ones, are interested in growing their own food.

Here’s the most startling statistic I saw in the trends presentation: Seeds sales went up dramatically in 2008. Burpee, the mega seed-seller, saw a 37 percent increase in sales between 2007 and 2008, brought on by what the company’s CEO describes as a “perfect storm” of bad economic news, concerns about food safety, and a desire to live more ecologically. This is a global trend, too. In New Zealand, where it is spring (sigh…), nurseries are reporting seed sales up by 25 percent overall and seed potato sales double from the previous year. Sales of plant starts are up 300 percent!

This is all good, as is the No. 7 trend on the trends report: Info Lust! New gardeners are eager for solid information on how to take care of the gardens they’ve planted. They are hungry for information and inspiration. They are taking classes, reading garden magazines, and — ah-hem, checking out garden blogs.  In gardening, information is power; the more you know, the more you’ll be able to grow. But those would-be gardeners who do not have a lot of time to satisfy their info lust should also know that seeds and plants are generally forgiving. A little dirt, a little water, a little sun — that’s all it really takes to grow at least some things yourself.

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