I was in Menards the other day buying some gear to start seeds indoors when the helpful guy in the light department told me they were out of the kind of light I was looking for and it would not be in stock for another week. It seems more folks are starting vegetables from seed, he noted. Now we have hard evidence of that observation. The National Gardening Association yesterday unveiled its survey on gardening intentions for 2009, and it’s no surprise that more folks are planning vegetable gardens for this summer. Here are the relevant stats:
- 43 million U.S. households say they plan to grow vegetables and fruits in 2009, compared to 36 million in 2008. That’s a 19 percent increase in a single year.
- Of those households that already do some food gardening, 11 percent said they plan to increase the amount and variety of things they grow. In addition, 10 percent said they will spend more time on their food gardens.
- These increases are on top of a 10 percent increase in food gardening between 2007 and 2008.
Why are more people growing fruits and veggies? The desire to save money in a struggling economy is a big reason (54 percent), but the quality and safety of home-grown food are just as important, the survey found. (The top reason — 58 percent — said it tastes better.) I also think that in difficult times people like to do something to control their own fate. Growing your own healthy, delicious food is the ultimate act of independence. At the same time, gardening leads to a greater connection to the land you live on and the people around you. Let’s grow!