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To a nation of gardeners, some happy statistics

Gardening has never been more popular, and it’s still growing

Tomato on the vine
Grow a tomato, join the millions of Americans
who love to garden. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

We are a nation of gardeners. More Americans are gardening recreationally now than at any time in our history. People are embracing Mother Nature, and are happier for it.

On this Independence Day, let's reflect on why American gardening is having a moment.

Gardening is increasingly something we have in common. More than half of all Americans – 55% – say gardening is their hobby. Another 20% say they’re “seriously planning” on gardening in the near future – as soon as they have some outdoor space.

According to the National Gardening Association, 18.3 million Americans took up gardening in 2021 – and most of them have stuck with it.

And it’s not just the Boomer generation. Millennials are the fastest-growing segment of newbie gardeners, now representing 29% of all gardeners. Their gardening-related purchases jumped an estimated 67% since 2019, say garden retailers.

Recent studies and surveys of America’s gardening habits reveal other trends: We are spending on gardening like never before. Annual sales of lawn and gardening equipment and supplies now top $48 billion. Garden retail centers report their business doubled during the COVID pandemic and has remained strong.

Interest in growing food remains strong, too; more than 35% of American households grow at least some fruit and vegetables. The average vegetable garden yields $600 in produce. Another plus: Kids who help in the vegetable garden are much more likely to eat their veggies.

And people who gardened before the pandemic are gardening more than ever; on average, up 42%.

Surveys also found that two out of three gardeners expanded into a new area of gardening during and post-pandemic.

An interesting twist discovered by researchers: People are gardening as much for mental health as physical exercise or saving food money. Gardening made them feel better.

So, get out and dig! It’s the American thing to do.

Happy Independence Day!


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For week of Dec. 3:

Make the most of gaps between raindrops. This is a busy month!

* Windy conditions brought down a lot of leaves. Make sure to rake them away from storm drains.

* Use those leaves as mulch around frost-tender shrubs and new transplants.

* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.

* Just because it rained doesn't mean every plant got watered. Give a drink to plants that the rain didn't reach, such as under eves or under evergreen trees. Also, well-watered plants hold up better to frost than thirsty plants.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while they're dormant.

* Clean and sharpen garden tools before storing for the winter.

* Brighten the holidays with winter bloomers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies and primroses.

* Keep poinsettias in a sunny, warm location. Water thoroughly. After the holidays, feed your plants monthly so they'll bloom again next December.

* Plant one last round of spring bulbs including daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, anemones and scillas. Get those tulips out of the refrigerator and into the ground.

* This is also a good time to seed wildflowers such as California poppies.

* Plant such spring bloomers as sweet pea, sweet alyssum and bachelor buttons.

* Late fall is the best time to plant most trees and shrubs. This gives them plenty of time for root development before spring growth. They also benefit from fall and winter rains.

* Lettuce, cabbage and broccoli also can be planted now.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* Bare-root season begins. Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb. Beware of soggy soil. It can rot bare-root plants.

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