Moves Out of Big Cities Change Local Garden Trends

We have experienced some interesting trends over the past year as more people are attracted to plants and gardening. Hashtags like #PlantParenthood are common. 

by Ken Lain, The Mountain Gardener, Watters Garden Center

Many folks who visit the garden center this spring are seeking their first experience with plants. I’ve asked these new gardeners what compels them. They say the current economic and health scare turned them into wannabe gardeners ready to try their hands at growing food.

A quote from a WebMD article caught my attention: “Take advantage of the gym growing right outside your front door.” Now, Watters Garden Center never thought we were in competition with local fitness centers, but it is a natural transition. People facing gyms closed by a COVID scare have sparked a robust interest in the health benefits the garden provides — fresh air and physical activity.

The WebMD article, Get Fit in the Garden reads: “Gardening is a good way to whittle down your waistline. Thirty minutes of garden exercise (for a 180-pound person) burns calories from activities like planting seedlings-162 calories, weeding-82 calories, and general gardening-202 calories.”

A New Trend… Migration Back to Rural Areas

We are at the leading edge of a new trend by those “ditching” big city living in favor of less densely populated areas. As we’ve seen this spring, the importance of herbs, vegetables, fruits and farm-related products is a recurring trend. This is an excellent opportunity for renewed interest in and expansion of the Yavapai 4-H and FFA programs. Certainly, the 4-H Pledge is attractive to the next generation.

Maya Shetreat-Klein, M.D., shares these fascinating thoughts in her recent article The Dirt Cure. “Our connection to plants, the soil and nature has been with us since the beginning of our existence. It is part of our DNA. During stressful times, gardening and getting our hands in the soil can be just what’s needed. What I have learned is that ultimately, it all begins with dirt. Dirt means exposure to microbes, eating fresh food from healthy soil, and spending time in nature.

“Instead of letting children get dirty, we have sanitized them. We’ve sanitized their bodies with antibiotics and hand sanitizer, their homes and schools with bleach, their food with pesticides, and their very lives by living more indoors. This is a problem because the bio-terrain inside our bodies is connected intricately to the eco-terrain outside our bodies.”

Dr. Shetreat-Klein goes on to say, “Soil plays a profound role in our health and happiness. Indeed, the health of our inner terrain, the internal environment of our bodies, reflects the health of our outer terrain, i.e., the world around us.”