They say that everything that’s old is new again, and that certainly seems to be true with edible gardening. This was huge back in the 70s and it’s come back around again (maybe parents are teaching their kids–or their grand kids?)
What’s “different” about this trend this time around is that while we’re still growing tomatoes and basil and peppers and squash, now we’re growing lots more exotic veggies too–things that if we had mentioned them in the 70s, folks might have said “bless you!”
Today it’s not uncommon to find mesclun or leaf lettuces in lots of people’s gardens–I grow it in my own. If we were to dissect some of the different varieties of “leaf” in some of those mixes, we might find arugula, bok choi, red and green romaine lettuces, mizuna, totsoi, rocket and all manner or different things.
Broccoli raab, celeriac, edamame and kale are almost common place in the garden. And if one gardens in a community garden in an urban area, one is even more likely to be exposed to the vegetables and herbs of different cultures–all to our benefit.
And swiss chard–in lovely colors too–might be growing in your garden.
Another thing that is new and different from 40 or more years ago is the size of the plants we’re growing. The tomatoes we grew back then were almost all indeterminate–or vining–type tomatoes that needed a lot of support and a lot of room to grow. These days there are lots of determinate and patio type varieties that are suitable for smaller gardens, containers and even hanging baskets.
But it’s not just tomatoes where we have seen such a change. Almost all vegetables have gotten smaller, more compact and suitable for our smaller gardens (although you can still find the older varieties as well).
Why this change to more compact varieties? Well, first off, it’s not just happening among edibles. Plants of all sorts–trees and shrubs, larger perennials and even annuals have been becoming more compact for decades now. It suits our lifestyle–think back to where we started this “garden trend” series–the “tidy” garden.
And I hate to say it, but none of us is getting any younger. So many of us are downsizing our homes or gardens (or both). So a container vegetable garden allows those folks who grew up gardening to continue that without giving up what they loved when they owned a larger home. And it also lets them eat healthy produce.
So this is one trend that doesn’t show signs of slowing down. And I am happy about that. Because I am all about helping folks enjoy their hobbies as long as they want to. That’s what keeps folks young, after all!