by Karri Sandino, Associate Web Editor, Hobby Farms
The flow of customers at the Fayette Seed in Lexington, Ky., was steady on a crisp but sunny March day recently.
Cool crops–brocolli, kale, cauliflower and even tiny strawberry plants–sat eagerly on wooden shelves outside. Inside, people were hunting down seed potatoes and onion sets.
Selling seeds is working well across the nation. The Associated Press reports that companies that sell vegetable seeds are doing better than usual this year.
“We can’t keep seeds on the shelves,” says Jamie Sizemore, assistant manager at Fayette Seed.
She thinks it’s the economy or last season’s tomato scare (not to mention spinach) that has more people growing their own food.
The National Gardening Association estimates that a well-maintained vegetable garden yields a $500 average return per year. A study by Burpee Seeds claims that $50 spent on gardening supplies can multiply into $1,250 worth of produce annually.
Industry surveys show double-digit growth in the number of home gardeners this year and mail-order companies report such high demand that some have run out of seeds for basic vegetables such as onions, tomatoes and peppers, says the AP.
Fayette Seed caters mainly to people with backyard gardens.
“We stick with the main stays,” says Sizemore. Though a local farmer delivers about 40 different heirloom tomato varieties to the shop, as well.
(The basics must be working: In addition to steady sales, Fayette Seed celebrates 75 years in business in 2009.)
Gardening advocates are calling the new gardens “recession gardens” and hope the movement continues to gain momentum.
The popularity of growing vegetables isn’t limited to America’s backyards.
- President Obama and Mrs. Obama have started a kitchen garden at the White House.
- Companies are planting gardens for themselves and charity (watch for more news on this from Hobby Farms.)
- And the buzz about community gardens is every where. A stack of flyers sat on the counter at the fayette Seed, for example.
If you want to get in the gardening game you need seeds. Here are some resources for seed-planting season: