RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Few things are more recession-friendly than free food, and most Americans can grow some right in their own backyards. With the Obamas planting a White House garden and the Department of Agriculture converting its headquarters’ front lawn into an organic garden, the idea seems to be catching on.
THE DETAILS: Even city and local officials are jumping on the bandwagon. This past week, the mayor of Baltimore, MD, announced plans to convert 2,000 square feet of formal gardens in front of City Hall into a vegetable garden that will provide a local charity with enough fresh produce to feed 700 to 800 people a day. Similar plans are in place in Flint, MI. And Maria Shriver, the first lady of California, will do the same on the front lawn of the California governor’s mansion, as will the first ladies of Maryland and Georgia.
WHAT IT MEANS: Whether it’s inspiration from the first family or just a need for high-quality, inexpensive produce in tough times, backyard gardening has become so popular that the National Gardening Association predicts a 40 percent jump in the number of people growing food in their backyards this year.
If you’re in the mood to create a bounty of produce this spring, but have never had garden soil under your fingernails before, here are a few basic tips for novice gardeners from Organic Gardening magazine: