Tough economic times creating more green thumbs

By Danielle Thomas - bio | email

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - The economic crunch has more Americans looking to save money by using their green thumbs.  A recent study by the National Gardening Association found that at a cost of $70 a year, the average family can grow $600 worth of vegetables.

Allyson Brewer of Gulfport says she plants vegetables every year. This year she says the family is relying more on the garden to put food on the table.

"My husband felt that it was going to be important to put groceries in the deep freezer this year,"she said. "The economy is not that great. Like everybody else, we're feeling the pinch."

"We decided to go bigger with the garden. Instead of five rows of corn, he did fifteen. Instead of 50 feet of potatoes, we did a 100."

Pine Hills Nursery staff say people are rushing to the DeLisle business to buy vegetable plants.

Mary Waltman works at the nursery. "This year in the gardening, we have had more people buying more vegetable plants than ever. We keep running out and cannot keep them in at all times."

Waltman says customers tell her the reason is money.

"They're scared of the economy. They are planting their own so they can have something to eat. They're saying," said Waltman.

Waltman says South Mississippi amateur gardeners are having trouble getting fruit trees because demand is high around the country.

"The fruit trees have been gone from our place for quite some time right now," said Waltman. "They've told us we're not going to be able to get anymore in until the Fall. They've run out and they can't get anymore in that's growing. They can't grow them fast enough.

Allyson Brewer says gardening is a great way people in the neighborhood can help one another.

"We do barter and trade with the neighbors. We have a neighbor who has chickens. We give her corn. We get chicken eggs. It's a nice thing to do with the community," Brewer said.

The Mind, Body and Spirit Foundation, a group that advocates healthy living says it plans to start a community garden in Pass Christian in the next few weeks.

To volunteer, call (228) 332-6229.

©2009 WLOX. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.