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The Economy's Other Green Shoots: A Gardening Boom
CNBC.com | May 01, 2009 | 02:00 PM EDT

Green shoots aren't just popping up in the economy. In case you haven't noticed, we're in the midst of a gardening boom.

From national home improvement chains such as Home Depotto local garden centers, stores are buzzing with folks getting into gardening for the first time. Even First Lady Michelle Obama is digging in the dirt on the South Lawn, planting the White House's first vegetable garden since the days of Eleanor Roosevelt.

The National Gardening Association predicts the number of people planting vegetable gardens is expected to rise almost 20 percent this year. Some say it's likely to surge even higher.

More consumers are planting, and they are planting more than they usually have, says Keri Butler, a spokeswomen at Scotts Miracle-Gro.

Butler says there's been a surge in consumers ringing up the company's call center, and most people want tips on planting vegetables.

At Ace Hardware stores in the Denver metro area, sales of seeds are up more than 300 percent, says Andy Carlson, a store owner and a member of a regional dealer group for the hardware chain.

Customers are mainly shopping for vegetable seeds and herbs instead of flowers, he says.

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