Gardening on the upswing – even for non-homeowners
5:29 PM, Apr. 1, 2011 |
LA TONYA FRELIX
American Staff Writer [email protected]
The main reasons given by households for growing their own food include:
For better-tasting food (58 percent)
To save money on grocery bills (54 percent)
For better quality food (51 percent)
To grow food they know is safe (48 percent).
Source: National Gardening Association
Selena Hill of Runnelstown decided this year she would plant vegetables in her garden.
The mother of three sons – 12, 16 and 17 – said she decided this year to do it as a way to save on her monthly grocery bill.
“I have three sons who love cucumbers, cantaloupe and watermelon,” she said. “They eat a lot and they’ll be out of school soon for the summer.”
Hill estimates she’ll shave around $600 over the course of the summer by planting vegetables. She spends $100 to $150 a week on grocery and about $200 during the summer.
“And that’s not buying any extras at all,” she said.
Add that her sons’ friends typically gather at her home during the weekends.
According to Ricky Adams at Adams Nursery in Petal, she’s not alone. He said over the last few years, more first-time gardeners have come in seeking advice, searching the rows of plants and supplies.
“Absolutely. There are so many more over the last two to three years,” he said. “We continue to see people coming in with the economy the way it is and the high cost of fuel and produce.”
According to a 2009 survey conducted by the National Gardening Association, 43 percent of households questioned said the recession motivated them to grow food each year.
The survey reported 37 percent of all U.S. households – or 43 million families – planned to grow vegetables, fruit, berries or herbs. This number was a 19 percent increase from 2008. Of those surveyed, 54 percent said they grew their own food to save money.
Mike Garner, at Heritage Nursery, said he’s also noticed an uptick in customers preparing for a garden.
“We’re selling a lot more vegetables than we have in the last few years,” he said. “And we’re selling more herbs than ever. We’re selling those like crazy.”
Adams said most planters have small, backyard gardens and the average homeowner in a subdivision is gardening.
“I don’t think they’re doing anything large but something to offset the cost of groceries,” he said.
He said he’s even seeing an upswing of people in apartments use container gardening – growing plants in containers instead of planting in the ground.
Container gardening is the practice of growing plants exclusively in containers instead of planting them in the ground.
Adams has advice for first-time planters.
“Start small. Start off with tomatoes, peppers and herbs first and maybe even squash and cucumbers,” he said. “As you get more acclimated, add melons, peas and beans.“