Seed shop owners: Economy driving more people to plant gardens

Rose Smith, 84, of Jackson (center) looks at tomato plants at Pioneer Orchard with her daughter (left) and a friend (right).
Rose Smith, 84, of Jackson (center) looks at tomato plants at Pioneer Orchard with her daughter (left) and a friend (right).
Diebold Orchards in Benton sells about 30 varieties of tomato plants.
Diebold Orchards in Benton sells about 30 varieties of tomato plants.

By Christy Hendricks - email | blog

JACKSON & BENTON, MO (KFVS) - The weather may have kept you out of your yard this past weekend, but local seed shop owners say they're busier than ever.
Local nurseries and orchard owners say the economy is driving more people to plant their own gardens.
They say a lot of first time gardeners have come in hoping that by going green they'll save some green.
That's means growing sales for local orchards and more green thumbs in the Heartland.
"This seems to be the year of the garden," said David Diebold with Diebold Orchards in Benton, Missouri.  "I don't know if the Chinese have that, but it seems like the year of the garden this year."
Diebold so many people are buying seed this year, he can hardly keep up.
"We've sold out what is our normal supply and we've had to reorder on a number of variety of seeds," he said. "We've done more reordering this year than we ever have already."
It's the same thing at Pioneer Market in Jackson.
"A lot of people have told me that a flower bed they normally would have planted, they're putting vegetables in this year instead," said Sarah Cook, company president at Pioneer Market.
"Everything from the economy to going green to saving money," said Diebold.
Gardening is something many people in the Heartland have done all their lives.
Like 84-year-old Rose Smith of Jackson, who came to Pioneer Martket looking for tomato plants.
"It's work, but I enjoy it," Smith said. 
A lot of first timers are getting their hands dirty too.
"A lot young people who normally wouldn't set out a vegetable garden, young families," said Cook.
Whether or not a green thumb means saving some green, some just do it because they like it.
"You can buy vegetables and stuff from the cans at the discount stores just about as cheap as..well, cheaper than you can raise and put them up and save. We just like to do it," said Frank King of East Prairie.  He's 70 year old and has been putting a garden out all his life.
Growers say nothing can replace the pride of growing your own food and knowing where it came from.
"You take that tiny seed and you get something from it and get 100 fold or 1000 fold from the production that you've planted and that's one of the rewards of it is to see it grow and have that personal satisfaction of it doing something like that," Diebold said.
Cook says a couple of the big sellers at Pioneer Market is bush beans and tomato plants.  Their flowers sales have been strong this year too.
Local growers say if you don't have room for a garden, get some big pots and put a couple plants in it or sneak a tomato or pepper plant in your flower garden.