May 2020
Ready to Grow By Teresa McPherson

Whether you’re old enough to remember Victory Gardens or not, there’s no time like the present to revisit them.

Diane Blazek, National Garden Bureau executive director, mentioned them in my interview with her as we discussed the NGB’s 100th anniversary (see “Focused on the Future of Gardening,” January 2020) but it’s especially timely to reintroduce the concept now. Dubbing it “Victory Garden 2.0,” the NGB and others are encouraging people to #stayhomeandgarden.

NGB has developed a series of messages formatted for use on social media, as well as tips, planning tools, podcasts, videos, and other materials IGCs can share with their customers and social media followers. Check them out here.

As one might expect, the trusty Old Farmer’s Almanac also has put together messaging for people looking to start gardens, including a garden planning tool, a planting calendar, growing guides and more. See

And as luck would have it, this issue is our Edibles Issue, focused on what’s new in fruits and vegetables and information on how to encourage your customers to grow their own produce. Syngenta’s Jeannine Bogard discusses how to expand your garden center vegetable category with varieties that align with food and garden trends.

While you’ll always have that core group of vegetables everyone wants, you should also be prepared for gardeners who are more adventurous or want to challenge their growing skills. But what about customers who don’t want to dedicate a plot of their lawn to growing edibles? Christina Salwitz, the Personal Garden Coach, writes that most of her customers don’t see landscaping with edible plants as an option. She suggests that IGCs help them to truly think out of the box with in-store displays that show how edibles and ornamentals can make a pleasing combination in a container or landscape. Turn to Dirty Secrets to read more.

Gardening with kids can be a great way to get them interested in not only where their food comes from, but also spark a passion for growing plants themselves. I know that my kids are much more interested in trying a new fruit or vegetable if it’s something that we’ve grown and nurtured in our own backyard. Here, Sarah Pounders, an education specialist at KidsGardening, discusses how independent garden centers can promote and support youth garden programs at home and through school and community garden programs.

P.S. As this issue was going to press, COVID-19 was affecting garden center operations in many different ways. Visit for the latest updates

Teresa McPherson

Teresa McPherson is the managing editor of Lawn & Garden Retailer. Contact her at [email protected]


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