Saturday, February 7, 2009

Victory Gardens Returning in Force

An article from the Financial Times:

Americans are turning in increasing numbers to their back yards to save money, with leading US seed merchants reporting a dramatic surge in early sales of carrots, tomato and pepper plant seeds.

George Ball, chairman of W. Atlee Burpee, which sells directly to gardeners and via retailers such as Home Depot, told the Financial Times that sales of vegetable seeds had grown 20-30 per cent this year.

The increase, he said, follows a similar jump in sales last year, and compares with previous annual growth levels of about 12 per cent.

Mr Ball said belt-tightening and economic concerns were the dominant factors driving demand, which had been stimulated last year by the high cost of petrol, and food safety concerns, following a scare over contaminated store-bought salad greens.

Richard Chamberlain, president of Harris Seeds, which supplies both commercial growers and gardeners, estimated that sales of seeds to gardeners were up by 50 per cent this year, with the company seeing a surge in first-time customers on its website.

“You’ll be seeing people digging over their lawns and planting vegetables,” he said