Gardening on the decline? Not so fast!



Check out this great post by Gayla/You Grow Girl, whom I’ve been following on Twitter, as well as reading her blog. (Her tweat alerted me to this post.) It’s not news to many of us, but she weaves together the various reports on how food gardening is on the rise very nicely.

I’ve been seeing these stats both in the gardening press and the mainstream media, and I know the other Ranters have been mentioning this. In fact, the issue of American Gardener I wrote about today reports on several surveys that show vegetable seed sales up 10 percent and vegetables/fruit outperforming all other plants in garden centers. Except lawn supplies, of course.

Here’s an excerpt from Gayla’s post:

And sure enough we are seeing proof positive that gardening with plants wasn’t dead in the least, it was just quietly shifting gears and growing in places where no one would have expected it.

What I love is that many of the food growers are younger gardeners.

Will I become a convert? Fill in my pond? Dig up my lily bulbs? Rip out the maples so I can grow tomatoes in my front yard? Absolutely not. But this trend makes me very happy. I’d much rather hear about people growing food than hear about them installing outdoor kitchens.

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Elizabeth Licata

Elizabeth Licata has been a regular writer for  Garden Rant since 2007, after contributing a guest rant about the overuse of American flags in front gardens. She lives and gardens in Buffalo, N.Y., which, far from the frozen wasteland many assume it to be, is a lush paradise of gardens, historic architecture, galleries, museums, theaters, and fun. As editor of Buffalo Spree magazine,  Licata helps keep Western New Yorkers apprised about what is happening in their region. She is also a freelance writer and art curator, who’s been published in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, ArtNews, Art in America, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She does regularly radio segments for the local NPR affiliate, WBFO.

Licata is involved with Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest free garden tour in the US and possibly the world,and has written the text for a book about Garden Walk. She has also written and edited several art-related books. Contact Elizabeth: ealicata at


  1. Hear-hear!

    When I signed up for my plot in a local community garden, I was told not to worry, there are *always* extra spaces. Lo and behold, when I got the official “send us a check to reserve your plot” letter, there were newly instituted ground rules (or newly enforced? I forget now) as well as a waiting list. Those earlier on the list would be able to choose their plot before the rest, etc. “Opening/Spring Cleanup Day” was mandatory, and come opening day – guess what, ALL 120 available garden plots were spoken for, even those that were very overgrown (as was mine).

    I have been very pleased to get to know my fellow “new” gardeners, many of whom had plots with even more overgrowth than my own to contend with. We’ve persevered, and it seems as though everyone’s pretty happy so far.

    Thanks for this post (and to Gayla as well) – with every food item traveling thousands of miles, and the price of oil/gas what it is (and rising) food costs can only go up. I’m not new to the idea of growing food, but I’m glad for any reason to know that people are – even in an urban setting like mine – growing food items.
    Happy gardening!

  2. i think i’ve said it here before, but i’ll expand as this is a problem i see on many gardening blogs i’m reading this year.

    short version: gardening is no longer a “hobby.” it’s going to become, and is for some of us, a “way of live” and we’ll even use words like “sustinence” as we talk about ours, those of us in the younger generation.

    the long version has to do with recognizing that traditional sources of information in the media have become, and clarified to be nothing else, than a mouthpiece for corporate and gov’t propaganda. i laughed out loud at that other post, of course the traditional media would bring on two corporate hacks who obviously are trying to enforce a trend as much as reflect or report on one. “garden centers” are industrial wastelands of slave-grown mismatches to the local environment, sold without knowledge or concern for the overall impact such distribution and application have in the long term.


    hobby gardners, people who think of plants as a private concern: be warned, a lot of the consciousness is changing. which i hope you share my view, and hold as a good thing. very soon, many “radical” environmental ideas will be municipal policy, at the least. because we have no choice. it’s that or die.

  3. I took a poll on my Homebody blog – Is gardening over? 66 readers said no, 11 were maybes and 3 said yes. Read it and know there are more like us living in Southern California.

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