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'Recession gardens' replace victory gardens

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Posted: Sunday, November 1, 2009 11:35 pm | Updated: 10:14 am, Mon Sep 24, 2012.

With the United States in a recession, more and more people are looking for ways to spend less money and get a better bargain at the same time. In a time where prices are higher, 'recession gardens' are becoming increasingly popular, echoing the victory gardens which were planted during World War I and World War II which helped to reduce the stress and pressure of food shortages.

"There is more interest in vegetable gardens similar to the victory gardens. Because of the economy, they are being called recession gardens," said a master gardener who volunteers at Ohio State University's Extension Service office, Fred Hanacek.

The new fad recently caught on in Iowa where families have began to plant the recession gardens to save money in the produce sections of supermarkets, especially organic fruits and vegetables. Public News Service quotes the National Gardening Association (NGA) as saying that they expect a nearly 20% increase in personal home garden across the U.S.. Some of the increase is also due to people wanting to know what goes onto their vegetables and in their foods.

"I do believe you'll find there's an extra expense in actually producing your own food, but the food quality you get is far better than what you can purchase in a store," said Beverly Bernhard a veteran gardener from Iowa.

The new trend has also gotten the attention of U.S. president Barack Obama who recently stated that he plans to plant a vegetable garden at the White House. It will be the first vegetable garden to be planted at the White House in over 20 years. The last time a garden of this kind was planted at the White House was in World War II when Eleanor Roosevelt planted her Victory Garden. In 1800, former U.S. president John Adams is reported to have planted the first White House garden. Andrew Jackson went a bit further, building a greenhouse.

Michelle Obama, the First Lady of the United States, broke ground on the new garden with the fifth grade class at Bancroft Elementary located in Washington, D.C. on March 20. The garden, which will be 1,100 square feet and an 'L' shape, will be located on the White House's South Lawn and the Obamas plan to grow over 55 varieties of vegetables.

"Let's hear it for vegetables. Let's hear it for fruits," yelled Mrs. Obama as they broke ground on the garden. "I've been able to have my kids eat so many different things that they would have never touched if we had bought them at a store," she added. Mrs. Obama also said that it will be the entire family's responsibility to maintain the garden, including the U.S. president.

Many vegetables grow easily, without having to do a lot of work to maintain them. Some examples are lettuce and zucchini. The NGA says at least 9 million Americans will grow vegetable gardens for the first time ever in 2009. An estimated 43 million Americans will plant their own personal vegetable gardens this year.

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