The Garden Boom has Begun

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

As the recession drags on, many Americans are getting “down-and-dirty” – literally – by cultivating vegetables in their own backyards. The double-digit increases in home gardening are also showing impressive savings for family food budgets…

Garden Growing

“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.”

Gardening advocates, who have long struggled to get America grubby, have dubbed the newly planted tracts “recession gardens” and hope to shape the interest into a movement similar to the victory gardens of World War II.

But for many Americans, the appeal of backyard gardening isn’t in its history – it’s in the savings.

The National Gardening Association estimates that a well-maintained vegetable garden yields a $500 average return per year. A study by Burpee Seeds claims that $50 spent on gardening supplies can multiply into $1,250 worth of produce annually.

Doiron spent nine months weighing and recording each vegetable he pulled from his 1,600-square-foot garden outside Portland, Maine. After counting the final winter leaves of Belgian endive, he found he had saved about $2,150 by growing produce for his family of five instead of buying it.

Adriana Martinez, an accountant who reduced her grocery bill to $40 a week by gardening, said there’s peace of mind in knowing where her food comes from. And she said the effort has fostered a sense of community through a neighborhood veggie co-op.

“We’re helping to feed each other and what better time than now?” Martinez said.

Read More on ways to save potentially thousands of dollars by growing your own.

Creative Commons License photo credit: HDC Photography

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