new gardener survey

I got an email from Pennsylvania garden writer George Weigel and Penn State Extension Horticulture Educator Steve Bogash asking me to post about their survey of new gardeners. It seems they are afraid that “newbie vegetable gardeners are ready to pack it in already after the punishing growing season we just had”. I have to admit I was surprised. Its been a great season! Hey, compare it to last year’s tomato blight disaster. It rained almost all summer last year! OK, this year was dry, and the bean beetles were excessive. But every year has its ups and downs. My experience is only here in the US North East. What do you think?

Veggie Rookies: Once and Done?
How are all of those new vegetable gardeners faring?
What problems are they running into, what are they growing and why, and most of all, are they going to stick with it after the punishing growing season we had in so much of the country?
Pennsylvania garden writer George Weigel and Penn State Extension Horticulture Educator Steve Bogash have put together a 15-question survey to find out.
It’s targeted at folks who have started growing herbs and vegetables within the past 5 years. If that’s you — or if you know others new to growing their own edibles — please check out and take the survey.
It’s anonymous, and results will be shared with interested media and garden-industry sources. The survey will close Nov. 19.
Questions: Email Weigel at or Bogash at

I have asked them to share the results with me, so I’ll post them here.

8 Comments. Leave new

  • Here in southern Ohio, the growing season was pretty rough- way too wet in the spring, and then very dry all summer. My favorite farmer at the market told me this was the worst years he's seen in over twenty. I dont think the new gardeners- at least the ones I know (including me, as this was year 3) want to quit, though. The reward is worth the challenge-which is part of the fun most of the time anyway :)I'll check out the survey.

  • Will they be posting their results somewhere? I'm curious about what other people have been experiencing.

    This is my first year with an in-ground garden, and if I hadn't done containers in the past I'd probably be a lot more discouraged than I am. As it is, my husband is very skeptical about my gardening skills. :-/

  • Marian(LondonUK)
    October 25, 2010 1:27 PM

    20010 has been a challenge at times, with some wacky weather patterns, but isn't it supposed to be? The failures make the other stuff you pick and eat even more valuable. The media make it look like you just pop in your seeds, give them some water and hey presto, that is all that's required. LGJ my husband thought I was completely mad taking on an allotment in 2009, now he loves the fresh veg he eats!
    Marian (London UK)

  • Marian(LondonUK)
    October 25, 2010 1:29 PM

    Ooops I did a bit of time travel there with the date, I meant 2010 of course.
    Marian (London UK)

  • Here in RI, it was an easy gardening year, one of the best I've had since 2000 when I began my garden on this site. Cukes were out of control and I canned 64 pints of pickles and composted huge amounts that just got ahead of me. Every year is different and there can be some disasters, but that's the fun challenge with gardening and it's not the end of the world for me if the crop fails, I can go to the grocery store, if I have to 😉

  • Hi Kathy,

    I took the survey. I think I am the only one out there like surveys! 🙂

    Hope this information can help the Uni develop more gardeners and farmers.


  • I am in the South. The weather problems have not been the same as New England weather problems but everywhere has some problem. I agree that it just makes the harvest seem more precious. It also makes one more thankful to our ancestors to think they did this to survive.

  • I've only been vegetable gardening for about 4 years now and I had a great year, it was a little tough to keep up with all the watering but it was a lot better then last year!!


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