Guest Commentary: Is the gardening craze growing on you?


Danny Tyree’s weekly column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate.

According to the National Gardening Association, the number of households growing their own vegetables, fruit and other foods has tripled since 2008.

(Coincidentally, the number of households stocking up on earplugs to keep from hearing neighbors brag about growing their own vegetables, fruit and other foods has also tripled since 2008. But I digress.)

Since last year alone, multifamily community gardens have increased by 22%. Such gardens would spread even faster if organizers could weed out the “participants” who try to abuse the division of labor.

For instance, the “researcher” who helps out by lying all day on his sofa, analyzing the 1978 film “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.” (“Hey, Mike — I’m going to need another bucket of that locally produced popcorn, with locally produced hot butter.”)

In times of high inflation, a home garden can be a lifesaver. Financially strapped consumers can save money while also eating a more nutrient-rich diet. Consequently, they will have the funds and energy to go out campaigning for the politicians who got them into times of high inflation to start with! Some people’s gourds have been out in the sun too long, if you catch my drift.

Today’s gardeners love communing with Mother Nature — assuming Mother Nature recognizes them through all the insect repellent and SPF bazillion sunscreen.

Neophyte gardeners revel in the convenience of walking right out and plucking an edible from the vine — after first scheduling an emergency visit with the chiropractor. (“I’m tired, Doc, but it’s a good … golly, are those X-rays even human?”)

Today’s gardens hearken back to the patriotic victory gardens of World War II. But our modern culture can reduce their status to more of a “Waving the White Flag” garden. (“OK, Junior, but you have to promise to help shell these nutritious peas after I drive you around the corner and buy you a 64-ounce Medium Gulp. And no, there’s not an app for shelling peas.”)

Sometimes, gardeners get a little too emotionally involved in their horticultural hobby. They aren’t satisfied to let professionals 2,000 miles away tend to pesticides. No, they insist on going the “This time it’s personal!” route when dispatching aphids, worms and beetles. If these people load me down with a two-year supply of rutabagas, I thank them profusely and walk backward all the way to the car.

Believe me, I understand about dissatisfaction with cardboard-adjacent vegetables that are engineered for transportation and storage. On the other hand, gardeners sometimes get on their high horse about it all.

It will be interesting to see how many gardeners are in it for the long haul (pardon my French, logistics-phobes) and how many are just dabbling with a new pastime in the post-pandemic era.

Overheard at a dinner party: “I am serious. This is not a fad. I don’t do fads. Now, pass the Brussels sprouts and help yourself to more of the Tide Pods souffle and Beanie Babies casserole.”

Copyright 2022 Danny Tyree.

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