Friday, May 16, 2008

How To Beat the High Cost of Living

Heather and Ted Glass of Boise are planting a garden this year to beat the high cost of produce.

Boise--With gasoline prices at all time record highs, the number of Idahoans planning to grow their own backyard vegetables this year is up sharply.

Edwards nursery on Hill Road in Boise, Gardening organizations, seed wholesalers, all report a sharp increase in the number of people buying vegetable seeds and starter plants.

The trend actually started a few years ago when people started worrying about where their food came from, food quality, and global warming, say garden gurus. Now it's gasoline and food price hikes that have led to this gardening tidal wave.

Retired dentist Ted Glass and daughter Heather live off Hill Road in Boise, Heather says they saved 'hundreds of dollars' thanks to last years garden. "We eat something every meal from last summers garden, whether its canned corn, frozen tomato sauce, last night we had frozen beans. So this year again I'm growing a big garden with tomatoes, green beans, corn and potatoes," said Glass.

A survey revealed that 39 percent of people with backyards told the Garden Writers Association they planned to grow vegetables this year that's up from 5 percent from last year. The vegetable seed market had leveled off this past decade, but sales now are expected to go through the roof.

"This is evolving into a perfect storm for vegetable gardening," says Charlie Nardozzi, senior horticulturist at the National Gardening Association in Burlington, Vt. "A lot of the economic things happening, and concerns are rising about global warming and carbon footprints, and so are worries about the quality of food, its price, and freshness – it's all come to a head."

"To be sure, food and fuel prices plus more and more people like their organic food and taste are big factors in the garden movement," said Glass.

Garden Writers Association annually surveys people to see how they plan to spend their gardening dollars, there was a big change this year in survey results with gardens moving up to number two.

"You've got a double whammy: The cost of food is going up disproportionately, and so is the price of gas to go get it," says Robert LaGasse, executive director of the Garden Writers Association in Manassas, Va. "With a garden, there's the cost savings, and add to it the time savings to walk out your back door and pull a couple of tomatoes from the garden for dinner tonight. It's wholesome, convenient, and you know what was done to it."

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