Down economy increases interest in seeds, vegetable gardens

Rain Smith • Mar 17, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Prompted by a spiraling recession, and the associated rising cost of groceries, many Americans are returning to their roots in backyard vegetable gardens.

Based on spring seed sales data, the National Gardening Association predicts a 19 percent increase in home gardening for 2009. According to the Associated Press, there is such demand that some mail-order companies have run out of seeds for the basics such as onions, tomatoes and peppers.

Agriculture experts in Southwest Virginia believe the renewed interest in vegetable gardens is growing even quicker throughout our region. At Broadwater Trading Company in Gate City, Va., last year's seed sales increased about 40 to 50 percent.

And by looking over their seed racks -- which should be full this time of year, but are two-thirds empty -- it appears the interest has carried over into 2009.

"We've seen ground turned in Scott County that hasn't been turned in 20 years," said Charlie Broadwater, the store's owner.

"Demand (for seeds) has went through the roof."

Scott Jerrell, Scott County Extension Agent for the Virginia Cooperative Extension, has recently fielded many questions from burgeoning gardeners. He's pleased by the renewed interest in sustainability, and offers some simple dos and don'ts for first time growers.

CLICK THE BOX BELOW for a video report.

For more tips on making your vegetable garden its best, visit the Virginia Cooperative Extension website.

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