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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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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 19:

Spring will start a bit soggy, but there’s still plenty to do between showers:

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* Watch out for aphids. Wash off plants with strong blast from the hose.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to fight blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees as they start to blossom.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.

* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.

* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.

* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.

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