Skip to comments.[MN] & Millions of Other Americans Expected to Raise Bumper Crop of Backyard Vegetables
Posted on 03/11/2009 9:47:53 AM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin
A couple of weeks ago, local gardening editor Mary Lahr Schier thought she'd start sprouting vegetable seeds indoors to get a jump-start on the Minnesota growing season. But when she went to Menards to buy the grow light she needed, the store was sold out. An employee told her more folks seem to be starting vegetables from seeds.
You bet your butternut squash they are.
"The big trend we've identified this year is the 'GIY' trend the grow-it-yourself trend, as opposed to the DIY or do-it-yourself trend," said trendspotter Susan McCoy, president and owner of the Garden Media Group. "We've heard reports from seed companies that sales are up as much as 80 percent."
Is it rising grocery prices? The comfort that comes from digging in dirt? The keep-it-local movement? Whatever the reasons, Minnesotans already are gearing up for a backyard bumper crop.
"We offered one Urban Vegetable Gardening class last year, and it filled up completely, plus we had 10 more people waiting at the door," said Paige Pelini, co-owner of Mother Earth Gardens, an organic garden center in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis. "So we decided we should do two classes this year. We still have people calling every day, asking us to do another class or wondering if there's some way they could sneak in the door."
(By the way, this week's "Chickens in the City!" class "Live Poultry Will Be Present!" is filled, too.)
Classes aren't the only way Minnesotans are seeking help growing their own veggies.
Schier, editor of Northern Gardener, the Minnesota State Horticultural Society's magazine, is noticing an uptick of traffic to the vegetable gardening posts on her My Northern Garden blog.
The magazine's publisher sees the growth from a different angle.
"When I talk to our commercial members and advertisers, they say they have noticed a significant increase in sales of herbs and vegetables," said Tom McKusick, publisher of Northern Gardener. "It's something I've been hearing from garden centers and nurseries since last fall, and I suspect it will only increase this year."
A National Gardening Association survey, conducted in January, backs up that prediction: 43 million U.S. households plan to grow their own fruits, vegetables, herbs and berries this year, a 19 percent increase from 2008. Perhaps even more telling, 21 percent of those households are planning to start not continue a food garden in 2009.
Seed companies have noticed.
"I would say vegetable sales are up 20 percent from last year," said Renee Shepherd of Renee's Garden, a seed company specializing in gourmet vegetables, kitchen herbs and cottage garden flowers.
"In the past, we've sold more flowers than vegetables, but that has sharply reversed itself. It's the economy, simplifying lives, food safety, a healthy way to spend quality family time together."
George Ball, chairman of the W. Atlee Burpee & Co., said his company's vegetable seed sales are also up 20 percent as of January. He pins it all on the economy.
"Forget about the perfect storm this has created the perfect hurricane in terms of sales for our business," Ball said. "Trends like locavores (people who eat food grown or produced locally), that's what I call a fashion. But this recession is a structural trend. When you take away or reduce people's income, or reduce their nest egg by 40 or 50 percent, you have almost a depression mentality. People are quite anxious."
Ball said he noticed the cost of fruits and vegetables at grocery stores remained high even after fuel prices had dropped. So his company did a cost-analysis study, and concluded that people who invest $50 in the vegetable garden on seeds and fertilizer can harvest the equivalent of $1,250 worth of groceries from a store. As a result, the company introduced "Burpee's Money Garden," a $10 seed purchase that Burpee estimates will produce more than $650 worth of vegetables.
"People talk about replacing a light bulb, insulating their window sills or wearing a sweater these efforts save a few dollars here and there but for a family of four with a good-sized vegetable garden, we're talking about saving a couple of thousand dollars," Ball said.
It's sometimes called "survival gardening." In this economy, this mind-set has made media sensations out of people like Clara Cannucciari, a 93-year-old great-grandmother from New York who remembers her own Great Depression garden as she cooks meals from the era and whose work can be seen on YouTube. (Check out her Poorman's Meal of potatoes, onions and hot dogs via her Web site, greatdepressioncooking.com.)
A local green thumb sees that hunger for information.
"People increasingly are interested in the idea of being self-sufficient, of being able to grow their own food to increase their ability to really survive on their own," said Carrie Christensen, who teaches the Urban Vegetable Gardening classes at Mother Earth.
RECLAIMING DOMESTIC SKILLS
For Debbie Lang, 32, of Newport, a stay-at-home mom of five hungry boys, self-sufficiency is important, especially as the family struggles to recover financially from when her husband was out of work for 11 weeks. But cost savings is not the only reason the family will attempt to grow as many of their own vegetables as possible for the second year in a row.
"We absolutely love eating fresh vegetables there's nothing like it," Lang said. "And there's such a reward of being able to reap something from your own effort; if you want a tomato, you can go pick a tomato in your own garden."
Lang fits in with one of the root causes related to the increasing popularity of homegrown food, identified by Garden Media Group.
"The housewife is back," McCoy said. "Crafting, canning, sewing, gardening traditional hobbies that used to be 'women's hobbies' are hot with the younger generation."
Pelini, of Mother Earth Gardens, sees that interest blossoming in her own daughters, a 16-year-old and 14-year-old twins.
"I'm a single mom. For years, I barely had time to take the laundry out of the dryer, much less have a vegetable garden," Pelini said. "But now they can participate. So last year, we did grow a vegetable garden, and it was really great. ... We're foodies, so we enjoy it. ... My daughters knit, too. We've talked about how they're reclaiming domestic skills without the cultural baggage."
And, well, there's just something scrumptious about homemade anything, whether it's the handmade Christmas gifts the Pelinis give or the fresh vegetables they grow in their back yard.
"We derive great satisfaction," Pelini said, "out of standing in our garden and eating a hot, somewhat dirty Sun Gold tomato."
Wa-Hoo! I'm SO happy to see this. :)
This is why the “Food Safety Act” is being crafted and proposed by House Democrats. Can’t have people be in charge of their own food supply, now can we?
Just let them try to stop us. :)
Got my garden in. If things get worse I may rip out my lawn and make it bigger.
It’s also a stress reliever. :^)
Got my garden in. If things get worse I may rip out my lawn and make it bigger.
It’s also a stress reliever. :^)
I wish I could raise chickens, but I don’t think we’re zoned for it.
Forget the veggies. Plant acorns. Deep.
maybe they’re just composting old 0bummer lawn signs
I am buying heirloom seeds this year. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I want hardy plants that I can salvage seed from. Planting seeds from hybrids bought at the store will not yield anything.
Too many deer and other critters hereabouts to have a garden here. The local Mennonite community sells the best produce I have ever seen, making it almost pointless to grow your own.
So people are spending 10 dollars and getting 650 dollars in value.
That is 600 dollars in taxable income by my calculation.
Plus, these people may be violating minimum wage laws, they are not withholding social security and medicare. Furthermore, they may be violating OSHA and enviromental laws.
There is no way in hell this is going to be legal under a democrat congress and president.
All the vegetables grown must be confiscated and put into a common pool where the hungry and poor need to be fed first.
There's a February 15, 2009 brief on the implications of this drought pattern at: http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.infiniteunknown.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/countries_by_agricultural_output1.png&imgrefurl=http://www.infiniteunknown.net/tag/kenya/&usg=__QaVour7cLGEU2Z-kewsqWSDJl_U=&h=286&w=550&sz=83&hl=en&start=68&um=1&tbnid=iAvJalXdIiM3nM:&tbnh=69&tbnw=133&prev=/images%3Fq%3Ddrought%2Bconditions%2Bmexico%26ndsp%3D18%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26start%3D54%26um%3D1<P>
In the above article the mother says it is so nice to want a tomato and go out back and pick one, which of course is true. What lots of folks don't take into account in the further savings of not hopping into the car and driving to the market/store to buy a tomato.
Most of us know how many times we've gone to purchase a tomatoe, potatoes, carrots or that other side dish for supper that night. How many times have we run to the market to put together that salad? Not to mention how many times we will buy something else that we would not have had we not gone to get the lettuce. The savings really add up.
Victory Gardens after an economic Pearl Harbor....
(now to read :))
Imagine if the vegetable gardens were treated like wages and the gardeners had to turn in 35-60% of their crops to the government, free of charge for those who did not grow their own.
Don’t be giving them anymore bright ideas :)
This year's rate of farm foreclosures, second only to the Great Depression, was caused by millions of suburbanites growing their own food in their gardens. Obama promises a bailout and Congress outlaws growing more than ten square feet of vegetables without applying for a permit from the Department of Agriculture. "People's gardening affect the interstate commerce of orange baseballs called tomatoes, thus limitations on individual gardens is constitutional."
Let’s make that url work:
I am thinking about that too. I've have a 20 X 16 area, but we have plenty of fresh veggies year round.
We have a stable close to us and get a pickup load of composted horse manure with about 40% hay or hardwood chips for $10.00. They load as much into your pickup as you want to haul. I filled up my furrows with that, so should use a lot less water this year.
WOW -— that sure sounds like a great deal!
Interesting site; the maps are quite impressive but still remain projections on the weather and the upcoming climate.
As such, one should be cautious in making judgments of their full value.
If you read to the bottom of the piece you will run into the meat of his argument as all that proceeds it is merely priming the pump for his delivery:
“The deflation debate should end now
The droughts plaguing the worlds biggest agricultural regions should end the debate about deflation in 2009. The demand for agricultural commodities is relatively immune to developments in the business cycles (at least compared to that of energy or base metals), and, with a 20 to 40 percent decline in world production, already rising food prices are headed significantly higher.
In fact, agricultural commodities NEED to head higher and soon, to prevent even greater food shortages and famine. The price of wheat, corn, soybeans, etc must rise to a level which encourages the planting of every available acre with the best possible fertilizers. Otherwise, if food prices stay at their current levels, production will continue to fall, sentencing millions more to starvation.
Competitive currency appreciation
Some observers are anticipating competitive currency devaluations in addition to deflation for 2009 (nations devalue their currencies to help their export sector). The coming global food shortage makes this highly unlikely. Depreciating their currency in the current environment will produce the unwanted consequence of boosting exports-of food. Even with export restrictions like those in China, currency depreciation would cause the outflow of significant quantities of grain via the black market.
Instead of competitive currency devaluations, spiking food prices will likely cause competitive currency appreciation in 2009. Foreign exchange reserves exist for just this type of emergency. Central banks around the world will lower domestic food prices by either directly selling off their reserves to appreciate their currencies or by using them to purchase grain on the world market.
Appreciating a currency is the fastest way to control food inflation. A more valuable currency allows a nation to monopolize more global resources (ie: the overvalued dollar allows the US to consume 25% of the worlds oil despite having only 4% of the worlds population). If China were to selloff its US reserves, its enormous population would start sucking up the worlds food supply like the US has been doing with oil.
On the flip side, when a nation appreciates its currency and starts consuming more of the worlds resources, it leaves less for everyone else. So when china appreciates the yuan, food shortages worldwide will increase and prices everywhere else will jump upwards. As there is nothing that breeds social unrest like soaring food prices, nations around the world, from Russia, to the EU, to Saudi Arabia, to India, will sell off their foreign reserves to appreciate their currencies and reduce the cost of food imports. In response to this, China will sell even more of its reserves and so on. That is competitive currency appreciation.
When faced with competitive currency appreciation, you do NOT want to be the worlds reserve currency. The dollar is likely to do very poorly as central banks liquidate trillions in US holdings to buy food and appreciate their currencies.
Monday, February 9, 2009
by Eric deCarbonnel
Source: Market Sceptics”
Keep working on your City Council. Many of them are seeing the value of people keeping laying hens. No Roosters, of course. (Worthless, noisy, unproductive mouths at the trough that they are!) ;)
(Hens will lay eggs without fertilization; one every 72 hours or so. A true miracle.)
You are 100% correct. :)
Someone on another thread said that soon we’ll be growing pot, legally, out in our yards, yet hiding tomato and pepper plants in our closets. ;)
We’ve had three flooding spring seasons here in Southern Wisconsin, followed by drought conditions the rest of the growing season, then a ton of snow and rain all winter long into Spring again.
I’ve had customers telling me they’re losing mature trees in their yards, and no wonder.
Stop it, Karl, or I’m going to bonk you on the head with a giant zucchini! ;)
One of our church members told me about that place last month. I went and got a load, but I wish I had something larger than my S-10. It holds about three scoops (3/4 yard), so that is enough for my garden. My neighbor got two loads in his regular bed Chevy for his garden and yard.
The guy doing the loading said that they sell the stable cleanings to a local nursery and they compost it a little longer, bag it and sell it. They have a 40 yd dumpster, but he said he is not filling it as quickly since word got out that they sell to individuals.
I get enough of the zucchinibergs around here. People don't seem to realize that just because they can grow that big doesn't mean they should be harvested at that size (unless you are letting them mature for seeds).
Chainsaws are for trees, not zucchinis.
I had a zuke and a hard squash cross one time in the garden. That thing was the size of a baseball bat, and hard as a rock. It sat in the corner of the kitchen for a good six months before I threw it in the compost pile.
planted my first flat of starter seeds last week.
have two more ready to plant in a couple days.
Temps went from 70 yesterday to 20 today. Getting the green thumb urge bad!
About time, too.
I know! We went from the 50’s down to the 20’s with wind chills of 15 BELOW. It’s very sunny, but very cold today.
I started lettuces, radishes and spinach to grow on the cool porch under lights. I won’t start tomatoes and peppers and other stuff for another week yet.
I can’t wait! :)
The food safety act is dangerous. They know self sufficient people can feed the forming militia against marxist government dictatorship.
Lay in the food now. Stock up on canning supplies.
The government is here to “help”.
am wondering the best place to buy non-hybrid seeds.
ping to my query in above post.
Deer come in my yard all the time (they got some tulip sprouts this week).
I have a chicken wire fence 30” high, with 3 strands of electric fence on top.
I have no problem with deer in the garden.
I agree. The Mennonites grow some awesome vegetables.
We go to the Versailles area frequently for produce I don’t have room to grow.
I used to work for them. I totally vouch for them. :)
Next week there will be a news report over the crisis in unsafe back yard vegitables.
Cities will outlaw this agricultural hazard.
(ala FL orange growers trying to outlaw back yard trees a few years back)
I’m another Mennonite shopper, but love growing things in my small garden.
Checking out the SSE. Loving it! Already up to $36, though! argh!
Buy heirloom seeds at rareseeds.com
Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company
They have hundreds of varietys but are selling out fast.
I got everything I ordered a couple weeks ago except for one item they were sold out of.
They interbreed? Who knew? Oi.
Makes me wonder what else I can mix.
The critters are my mnemesis. I noticed the other day all my new corn shoots were gone. Don't know who ate them, but I have constructed a blind in my backyard and am prepared to wait them out with my Daisy BB gun. I say I don't know who the miscreant is, but I have an idea, as there are recurring troublemakers in our neighborhood.
What is needed to raise “laying hens”? Are they noisy? Would they bother the neighbors? How much does it cost to feed them and what kind of shelter is involved.
I know nothing about this :)