Thirty one percent of all U.S. households, an estimated 36 million, participated in food gardening in 2008. Twenty one percent of food gardening households in 2009 are new to gardening. But I can’t help wondering why these numbers aren’t even higher.
I was at the grocery store a few days ago when the woman at the checkout started asking me some questions about gardening. The woman behind me overheard the conversation and commented that while her sister was a great gardener, she herself had a brown thumb.
Another time, the woman who delivers my mail told me her husband won’t let her garden because she once pulled out a young clematis vine, thinking it was a weed. And these encounters got me thinking about how, for too many aspiring gardeners, life in the backyard can be a string of disappointments - where gardens are places where plants go to wither, and working with shovels and hoes is more like digging grave s than growing plants.