Around 1 in 3 American households (35%) grow some of their own produce, including vegetables and fruits. The trend toward vegetable gardening is increasing, with some studies showing around two-thirds of households intending to grow even more produce during the upcoming year.
For many reasons, gardening has been on the rise in the U.S. since the beginning of the pandemic. That increase in gardening participation seems poised to continue into the future, with many gardeners committing to even more time and money spent in their gardens.
Read on for more information on vegetable gardening in the U.S. today, and find out about the latest trends in gardening.
Who is Growing Vegetable Gardens?
Gardening took off during the pandemic across many demographic groups, including across all age groups. Millennials showed the largest increase in gardening spending during the pandemic, followed by Gen Z.
Some studies found that around 65% of people at least attempted to grow some of their own food during the pandemic years.
Even for those who do not have outdoor space to garden, community gardens have provided a gardening refuge where members can grow their own food. Many gardeners even got started just by growing a few pots indoors.
Is Vegetable Gardening Increasing in Popularity?
Studies have found that even as the pandemic winds down, gardeners are committed to maintaining their gardening hobby. Sixty-two percent of respondents in one study reported that they would grow more vegetables during the upcoming year.
Forty-four percent of gardeners reported that they plan to spend more time gardening this year, and 28% reported intending to spend more money on gardening.
Millennials showed the largest increase in gardening participation during the pandemic, increasing gardening spending by 65%. In 2022, reports indicate that millennials intend to increase the amount they grow by a whopping 76%–the highest of any age group. Clearly, millennials who got bit by the gardening bug are hoping to maintain the hobby.
Benefits of Vegetable Gardens
The main reasons reported by those who are increasing their gardening activities were a reduction in stress and an increase in overall health and wellbeing.
No one factor seems to be responible for the life satisfaction that is achieved when gardening. It could be due to spending time outdoors, getting sunshine, feeling empowered, or getting physical exercise.
Many gardeners also reported that they enjoy spending time outdoors with family. Children benefit from gardening activites by developing skills in planning, focus, reading, measuring, and time management.
A successful vegetable garden can also cut down on food costs for your family. By some estimates, vegetable gardens may produce an average yield of several hundred dollars of produce.
Furthermore, some studies show that adults who garden actually consume more fresh fruit and vegetables than those who don’t. The same seems to be true for children–those who are engaged in gardening activities are more open to trying new fruits and vegetables.
You may even notice that produce grown in your own garden–with your own labor–tastes better than store bought. Plus, you will have the pride of knowing that you can create food for yourself and your family.
Environmental Benefits of Gardens
Many gardeners report that they are gardening in part in an effort to have a positive environmental impact. Some report that they are growing native plants outdoors in order to support pollinators and native species.
Another trend is growing your outdoor garden to support your climate. For example, if you live in a dry, desert area with limited water availability, gardeners are working to xeriscape their yards and gardens, which means planting drought-resistant plants that require little watering.
Those in environments that flood are planting species that absorb excess water and prevent the erosion of the soil.
Or, if you live in a place prone to wildfires, you may be working to create fire breaks around your home that includes planting water-retaining plants, using fire-resistant beds, and keeping flammables away from your home.
Many are also following the low-carbon gardening trend, and working to plant only local plants that haven’t been shipped long-distance. You can even ask your neighbors to share plants with you, or propagate your own.
Another trend is creating an outdoor office! If you are still working from home, creating a garden office can be a way to incorporate your hobby into your working life!
Can I Grow A Vegetable Garden?
One of the reasons that vegetable gardening has caught on and stayed so popular is that the vast majority of households that engaged in vegetable gardening during the pandemic reported high levels of success with it.
That means that with a little guidance, you too can grow your own produce. You may want to start very small with just a windowsill herb garden. You may be surprised how different herbs taste when they are fresh from your own garden!
You can even grow veggies in pots. Grab some large pots, potting soil, and tomato plants. You may be surprised how easy they are to grow even on your deck (they will need a lot of sun).
You don’t have to try to grow produce right away. If you just want to brighten your space, pick out some succulents in small pots. Get some cactus soil and watch them grow! They won’t need a lot of water, so even if you forget to water or are out of town a lot, these plants will thrive and make you feel like a gardener.
As we said before, you will need to use plants that are appropriate for your environment.
Around a third of households are up and running with a vegetable garden in the United States. When you add in other types of gardens, like ornamental flower gardens, the number of gardeners is a little over half.
If you are interested in gardening, there is truly a level for you, you just need to find it. Maybe you start with just a few pots, but over time you may grow just like your garden!
Hi, I’m John Stephens, chief editor and writer for Totalgardener.com. I’ve been gardening and raising animals for over 15 years starting with a small backyard plot in Northern Virginia where I grew corn, potatoes, squash, and using a high mulch technique called the Ruth Stout Method. I also raised ducks and small mammals for meat and eggs in a movable pen similar to the ones used by Joel Salatin. I later moved to Colorado where I experimented with growing greens using aquaponics inside. I eventually added a microgreens setup and home sprouting operation. I’m excited to share everything I’ve learned plus more from the other local gardening and animal raising experts I know.