Hot Item of the Season – Home Grown Food

Whether its the recession, a growing trend, or a combination of both, people in the Eastern Sierra are growing more food in their gardens than in past years.

The trend looks like it started last year. This season has been unusually busy. Local nursery staff reports that vegetables, seeds and fruit trees are selling like crazy. Debbie Blair at Chalfant Big Trees Nursery says that the rush to buy fruit trees and vegetables goes beyond local shops. When she calls her suppliers out of the area, some varieties of peach tree are not even available. Almonds and nectarines are also in short supply.

At the Bishop nursery, staff can point to the mostly empty shelves where the flats of strawberries used to be. Seed potatoes are also selling like crazy, this season. Nursery manager Wayne Hinkel says that to save money on food costs, people appear to be growing more in the garden. With less money for travel, people might also spend more time in the garden this year, he says.

It might not just be penny pinching and victory gardens that have led to the rush on growing food at home. Hinkel says that perhaps the gardening is contagious. As one person gets a garden growing, others see the garden and get interested in doing it themselves, he explained.

This time of year, its not quite warm enough outside for tomatoes in the Owens Valley without the wall of water device, or starting the seeds indoors; but beets, carrots, broccoli, artichokes, and cabbage can go in. Fruit trees are something else to think about.

The rush to garden may be the recession. The move to till the earth may also be a search for a bit of peace in a fast-paced world.

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