people in a garden

URBANA, Ill. – In a strange and stressful year, many people turned to gardening for respite. Gardening increased 43% in 2020, according to a survey conducted by the Minnesota firm Axiom Marketing.

“A whole bunch of us got into, or more into, gardening in 2020,” says University of Illinois Extension Horticulture Educator Richard Hentschel. “And, it looks like that trend may continue into 2021.”

Extension educators and Master Gardeners helped many first-time home gardeners solve problems and source materials. Garden centers saw a boom in sales.

“Younger gardeners really embraced growing in their yards this year,” Hentschel says. Seventy-two percent of gardeners under 40 say that they spent more time gardening in 2020. Renters of condominiums and apartments also grew gardens, with more than half of the respondents growing vegetables and one in three using container gardening. 

The increase in vegetable gardening is likely is due to concerns of food safety or shopping and an increase in naturally or organically grown foods, Hentschel says.

In addition to vegetables, 73% of survey respondents grew flowers. “IIf you are going to be spending more time at home and in the yard, you want it to look good,” Hentschel says.

Why did people garden in 2020? Top responses included creating a beautiful outdoor space, personal enjoyment, and something to do. About 82% said they were successful in their gardening endeavors. “Some may have been first-time gardeners, or others may have taken on the challenge of a new type of gardening, or a new crop,” Hentschel says.

The gardening push is expected to continue in 2021, with 86% indicating they'll garden the same amount or more next year. The youngest gardeners, those under 40, are most anxious to return, with 94% planning to garden again next year.

Looking ahead to 2021, Hentschel says winter is a good time to start planning for the growing season. You can find Extension resources to help at extension.illinois.edu/global/horticulture.

SOURCE: Richard Hentschel, Horticulture Educator, Illinois Extension
WRITER: Nicole Stewart, Marketing and Communications, Illinois Extension

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