Although New Jersey has the license plate, Vermont can now claim the title of Gardening State. Analysis by LawnStarter of Google trends from January 2011 to December 2015 found that Vermont led all 50 states in searches for the term “gardening” during the five-year period. What makes Vermonters so enthusiastic about gardening?
According to Charlie Nardozzi, a gardening expert who hosts “Vermont Garden Journal” on Vermont Public Radio, “Vermonters are very in touch with the natural world—many living here because of the rural nature of the state—so gardeners fit into that value. You’ll see gardens in containers, beds, window boxes, and even green walls and roofs.” He also cites Vermont’s localvore culture in driving the gardening fervor. “Many people love to cook,” he says. “Growing fresh veggies and herbs and unusual vegetables is a way to feed that cooking and eating passion.”
Ann Hazelrigg, an assistant extension professor at the University of Vermont whose expertise includes educating gardeners, agrees with Charlie. “Vermonters enjoy the work and experience of growing their own food,” she says. “I suspect our short summers also serve as a catalyst to get people outdoors to make the most of the several weeks of growing weather.” According to data compiled by Vermont-based “Strolling of the Heifers,” Vermont boasts the most farmers markets per capita of any state in the U.S.
The co-owner of Vermont Flower Farm, George Africa, says that, “The number of community gardens increases each year.” Because Vermont is an environmentally conscious state, Vermonters choose to grow their own food as the seasons permit. But the state’s gardening movement goes deeper than Vermonters’ desire to produce their own fruits and vegetables.
“During times such as these when terrorism is a scary, everyday thing, gardens tend to pull some people back together. This is especially true in Vermont,” Africa says. “It’s a heck of a way to encourage a gardening revolution, but it’s a fact from my perspective.”
What are you planting this year? Send a letter to the editor with pictures of your garden .