As Americans hunkered down in their homes, a new national survey found that the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a spike in edible gardening. Thirty percent of those who plan to grow their own food are gardening for the first time, with 65% listing COVID-19 as the number one reason they chose to grow their own herbs or vegetables.
The gardening trend has grown particularly quickly among younger generations, with the survey revealing that nearly 2 in 5 Americans under 35 now grow their own herbs or vegetables. Because young people are more likely to live in homes where space is limited, the gardening industry is shifting to accommodate them.
Bonnie Plants’ new Harvest Select collection includes varieties that are specially designed to produce high yields in small spaces.
“A lot of young gardeners don't have the room for large, in-ground gardens, so we're focusing more on compact spaces where people can grow container and vertical gardens,” said Amy Enfield, a horticulturist for Bonnie Plants. “Many people start an edible garden because they want to know where their food comes from, and regardless of how much space they have, everyone should be able to experience the satisfaction of picking a vine-ripened veggie and eating it straight from their garden.”
To add to the excitement of home gardening, Bonnie Plants developed the new collection that encourages gardeners to unleash their inner chef. It includes varieties you won’t find at your local grocery store, with more than 20 unique vegetable and herb plants that feature bold colors and exciting flavors.
Enfield says keeping a few simple tips in mind can help lead the novice gardener to a successful harvest so they can begin enjoying the fruits of their labor.
Ease into it - If you're new to gardening, it’s important to start small rather than trying to jump in and grow one of everything. Start with a few varieties you enjoy that are easy to take care of like snacking peppers, compact tomatoes and summer squash, then expand your garden next year after getting your feet wet.
Work with your space - There are ways to make almost any outdoor space a beautiful garden. Use containers, shelves or hanging baskets on your porch, patio or balcony and be sure to note how much sun or shade your space gets when choosing your plants. Most vegetables need six to eight hours of direct sun each day.
Share your harvest - Sharing the extra vegetables from your harvest with your neighbors or a local food pantry is a great way to give back and create a sense of community as we all find ways to support each other through this difficult time.
“While there are a lot of different garden types and sizes, gardening is something anybody can do with a little planning and care,” Enfield said. “Bonnie is doing everything they can to reach new audiences and make it as easy as possible to get started. People can now order plants on bonnieplants.com and have them delivered straight to their doors, and the Bonnie Homegrown app also offers tips to those new to gardening on when and where to plant certain varieties and reminders to keep plants watered.”
Further evidence of the vegetable gardening trend amid the COVID-19 pandemic was apparent in Bonnie Plants’ sales which have seen a 45% increase so far this year.