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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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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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