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A green thumbs up to gardening, the recession proof hobby of the masses

April 28, 2009

As a recent first time home buyer, I am experiencing a lot of firsts. My first unwanted house guest (a mouse), my first fiasco (basement flood) and just this past Saturday, my first experience with yard work. The temperature hit 70 degrees. The sun was shining. I had made up my mind earlier that week that Saturday I was going to “garden”. While I had no idea what gardening really entailed, I knew it was something that homeowners often do, so I felt the need to check it out. And my patio was covered in weeds, so something had to be done before they started to take over my house.


So I headed out to my back yard (and by yard I mean my small patio and couple square feet of garden – city living) and soon realized that I had no idea where to start. I headed back inside to the internet to my trusty guide, Google. Armed with information from, I headed to Lowes to stock up.

The Lowes Garden Center proved to be just as overwhelming as my patio at home. As I stared blankly at the seed stand, I felt distinctly inadequate next to the people rushing around me, carts full of high tech gardening tools and big bags of soil. These folks obviously knew what they were doing. Because I was so lost, I was there long enough to notice the major variety in age, gender and even personality in the Saturday afternoon Lowes garden shoppers. I had always thought of gardening as my grandma’s thing, and by the looks of the Lowes crowd on Saturday, I was way off. And from the looks of the carts spilling over with high tech gardening tools, soil and flowering plants, the gardening industry isn’t suffering from the recession, either.


I grabbed a few packets and made my way home. As I pulled the weeds and arranged my seeds, I really started to understand the appeal of this hobby. Creating something sustainable and beautiful out of nothing is really quite remarkable. If my seeds actually do sprout (which is highly unlikely), I know that I will enjoy it all the more. I began to understand what all those Lowes patrons were after earlier that morning – gardening is a very satisfying hobby.


And after a bit of research on the internet later that afternoon, nursing a nasty sunburn from all my gardening that morning, my hypothesis about the gardening and the recession proved to be true. Gardening is not only proving to be recession proof, it may even be one of those rare cases that is actually benefiting from the recession. A recent release from the WSJ reported that as consumers are seeing their grocery bills rise, they are increasingly cutting out entire sections of their lawns to grow their own foods. An increase in spare time due to recession cutting out on entertainment budgets is now being devoted to dabbling in the garden. According to Richard Chamberlin, president of Harris Seeds, seed companies say this renaissance has rescued their vegetable business after years of drooping sales. Orders for vegetable seeds have skyrocketed.


It also turns out that the hobby is quite age-less, too. Although the stereotype may be that gardening is a middle-aged past time, that’s not accurate at all. As our world goes increasingly green, all age groups, including 20 somethings and teens, are taking it upon themselves to make positive use of their natural surroundings with gardening. Thank goodness for the Internet. College courses and easily accessible online resources have turned this middle aged past time into a hobby for all, even those of us without green thumbs.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Crystal permalink*
    April 28, 2009 10:21 pm

    I’m impressed. I mowed Sunday evening when I saw the height of the grass/weeds relative to the smallest beagle. Terrific post. I garden vicariously by following Steve on Twitter.

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