Garden Trend Report: It's All About the Veg

Victory garden posterI just got back (despite a really bad snow storm in southern Minnesota!) from the Chicago Flower and Garden Show. This was my third home and garden show of the year, and one that confirmed a lot of what I had seen and heard at the St. Paul and Minneapolis shows about the garden trends for 2013.

Food gardening continues to be one of the top garden trends. (More on the other trends tomorrow.) Food gardening combines concerns about the environment and what we eat with the desire to go to the simpler, more blissful times that garden trend reporters are seeing. One of my favorite displays at the show was from a community garden group in Chicago. The group operates seven community gardens in the city, with the goal of teaching urbanites how to grow their own food. The effort is inspired in part by the Victory Gardens of World War II. Those 20 million Victory Gardens grew about 40 percent of the produce the country needed during the war years. (Dowling Community Garden in Minneapolis, interestingly, is one of two remaining Victory Gardens that continues to operate as a community garden.)

raised bed square foot garde

Here’s an example of a raised bed garden using square-foot gardening techniques.

The Chicago display not only brought out some cool old posters from the Victory Garden era, but demonstrated for show visitors how they could set up a simple vegetable garden, even in areas where the soil is poor (or nonexistent). The plots were all set up as raised beds, with a variety of herbs and vegetables grown.

MSHS supports and encourages community gardens of all types through its Minnesota Green program, which provides plants and seeds to many community greening programs.

Growing food — whether in a home garden, a few containers or in a community garden — is a great way to connect with nature, to expand children’s interest in nature and healthy eating, and to improve your overall health. This is a garden trend to get excited about!

Interested in vegetable gardening this year? Check out our blog series on starting and growing a vegetable garden.

—Mary Lahr Schier



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