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Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Passion for Growing Vegetables

We're seeing it at Tagawa Gardens, just as the National Gardening Association is seeing it nationwide: people are increasingly passionate about growing their own vegetables. It's more than a "craze." It's a phenomenon. At Tagawa's more than 800 people over just two weekends attended our free classes on edible gardening.

The recession is definitely a factor, but it's not the driving force. According to a recent study by the National Gardening Association, 54 percent of gardeners surveyed said saving money on food bills is their main reason for growing vegetables. But even more of those surveyed, 58 percent, said they simply want better-tasting food. A non-scientific survey among people attending a beginning vegetable gardening that I taught recently showed the same results.

In all, forty-three million households nationwide indicate they'll be growing some of their own vegetables, fruits, berries and herbs this year. Forty-three million!! We assume that number includes the First Family. The White House will have its first vegetable garden since the Victory Garden days of the Roosevelt administration.

And what's the "top crop?" Tomatoes, of course. Eighty-six percent of these veggie gardeners say tomatoes are their #1 priority. As you might expect, Tagawa's is well aware of the importance of a red, ripe tomato to our gardening customers. Our tomato varieties are increasing by the week. By early May, we'll have more than eighty different types of tomatoes for sale..... something to fit every taste and gardening preference.

Other crops as they rank in the national survey: cucumbers, sweet peppers, beans, carrots, summer squash, onions, hot peppers, lettuce and peas. All of these crops can thrive in a Colorado vegetable garden. Tagawa's carries plants or seeds.... and in many cases both... to help each of these crops get up and growing.

And don't forget the fruit! We're coming up on the perfect time of year to invest in your own edible landscape. How about an apple tree? Growing up, I took apples for granted. My little Swedish grandmother had her own orchard in Boulder. What I wouldn't give for some of those apples now! She also had a huge patch of raspberries and blackberries. I can still smell the jam cooking....

You can start planning and planting for your own memories of sweet lucious fruit with a walk through Tagawa's nursery department. Fruit trees and berry bushes are just waiting to take root in your back yard.... just as the whole notion of "growing your own" seems to be taking root in the hearts of the passionate gardeners we're seeing at Tagawa's.