Edible gardens are sprouting all over

ST. LOUIS — People are eating up the idea of growing their own food. Economic hard times have sent millions of Americans foraging for ways to eat more economically, and they're doing it by growing their own edibles.

A survey by the Garden Writers Association Foundation found the growing of edibles boomed last year, with more than 7 million of the 41 million U.S. households trying their hand at vegetable gardening. The survey found 37 percent of households planned to increase their edible gardens this year.

Nurseries are responding to the demand by boosting not only their vegetable, fruit and herb inventory but also their related products, such as seeds and seed starting kits and organic soil amendments, fertilizers and insect-control products.

Residents are finding creative ways to grow their own, not only by building raised garden beds but also by using containers to make the most of small spaces in apartments and condos.

Decks and patios are becoming popular places to put containers to grow fruit, such as blueberries and raspberries. Another alternative to traditional beds is square-foot gardening, in which vegetable plants are massed tightly in a small space.

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