Vegging Out (In a Good Way!)
This issue is one of my favorites because it’s all about one of my favorite things — growing vegetables. I’ve been growing my own veggies for years, and the operation has become decidedly more intense — from what started with a few containers on an apartment balcony to now firing up the grow lights and heat mats each January to start seeds for summer planting.
Beyond that, my tastes have evolved from not only growing the heirloom veggies known for decades, but also new varieties and new-to-me varieties like mizuna and Cucuzza squash. I love the challenge of growing something different — and the fun of sharing my harvest with others who are likely also not familiar with the varieties. I even potted up some Swiss chard from my vegetable garden to keep indoors as an edible houseplant over the winter.
Growing new and different varieties is a trend popular with Gens Y and Z as well, according to a new study from Axiom. According to their 2022 Vegetable Garden Study, almost 50% of Gen Z and 42% of Gen Y reported that they will grow new and different types of vegetables in 2023.
What did most gardeners who responded grow in 2022? The top four picks — ranked by popularity — were tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and herbs. Surprisingly, some of what I consider the easiest veggies to grow ranked low on the scale; peas and pumpkins accounted for 13% each, while radishes made up just 10%. Looks like there’s some potential here for garden centers to encourage new or less adventurous gardeners to try these veggies out for an easy growing experience.
And on the topic of new varieties, I reached out to breeders to see what new stuff they’re offering for retail in 2023. Find all the details here.
Many garden centers are evolving to offer more of an experience to shoppers — including prepared food. In this issue, I write about how two independent garden centers have incorporated food trucks into their business. While one is an extension of their on-site café, the other brings in local food trucks for special events. Find all the details and their tips on adding a food truck to your store here.
What edible varieties are you planning to grow in 2023? Any standouts to recommend? Drop me a line at [email protected].