Photo courtesy Chris Steer/iStockphoto
Garden-Share.com, the interactive social network where more than 27,600 recreational and professional gardeners connect, network and share content, conducted a survey of its 27,688 professional and recreational gardeners, of which 20.6 percent of the 1,139 respondents respondents said “vegetable gardening” is the most popular gardening trend. “Small-space gardening” was selected by 17.1 percent and “organic gardening” was chosen by 16.3 percent.
“Vegetable gardening has enjoyed a surge in popularity due to the economy, the price of gas and consumer concerns about the origins of the food they eat,” says John Mitchell, founder of Garden-Share.com. “Add to that the personal satisfaction you get by growing your own food and it is no wonder vegetable gardening is the most popular trend.”
Other findings include:
- 43.6 percent responded that “yes, you can save money by vegetable, fruit and herb gardening.” Another 28.2 percent said “it doesn’t matter, it’s enjoyable.”
- 56.9 percent said tomatoes, though technically a fruit, are their “favorite vegetable to grow.” At 8.1 percent, peppers were second.
- Basil was chosen by 35.6 percent as “most favorite herb to grow.” Rosemary at 12.2 percent and chives at 8.0 percent were other favorites.
- Berries were picked by 31.4 percent as the “most favorite fruit to grow.” Apples were chosen by 6.7 percent and citrus by 5.2 percent.
- 45.8 percent of survey respondents cited “relaxation and enjoyment” as their main reason for gardening. 25.8 percent chose “garden for beauty and decoration.”
“As a gardener, I typically plant according to the season. Spring is in the air and the survey results definitely show that there is lot of activity,” says Mitchell.
Garden-Share.com followers offer these seven tips for productive, enjoyable vegetable gardening:
- Plan in advance. Decide what you want to grow and how much time and space you can devote to your garden. Learn what works in what season. Tomatoes and berries seem to be the easiest.
- Select a site and start small. A 3-by-6-foot raised bed and a few containers are enough to get you started and to hold your interest. Consider one each of plants like zucchini or cucumbers, two to three of peppers or tomatoes and four to five plants of smaller crops like beans or lettuce.
- Prepare the soil. You’ll want fertile, well-drained soil. Building raised beds allows the soil to drain faster and warm more quickly.
- Check the lighting. Most vegetables will need at least six hours of direct sun a day. If you have less than that, consider growing leafy green vegetables or root crops like beets, carrots and radishes.
- Grow what you will eat. Pick a favorite vegetable, plant a few seeds and have fun watching them mature.
- Be patient. The time it takes from planting to picking can vary. For example, radishes take about three weeks, cucumbers about six weeks and peppers about 12 weeks. Anyone who has eaten fresh produce knows that a garden is worth the effort.
- Have fun and share. Your garden doesn’t need to be perfect. Enjoy what you are doing and share your experiences and photos.
For a copy of the survey results, click here.