What’s new? Keep up with the way gardens, farms, and life are changing with our 2019 Trends Report. The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts what may affect our world in the coming year. See if you’re up for trying something different (which is eerily similar to the past in some cases!).
- Today, people are playing computer games in which players sample an agricultural career. They are “renting” a farm animal, beehive, or maple tree; getting photos of its growth cycles; and, eventually, consuming its harvest.
- And in cities, indoor farming technology is helping urban agriculture to evolve and develop. People are looking for lifestyle-friendly, plant-related projects that cater to short attention spans and hectic schedules.
- And we’re taking our gardens online. Gardeners are looking for bold, tropical foliage with unique colors, shapes, and patterns that look great on social media.
- Indoor hydroponic gardens are Internet-connected, and our homes have “breathing rooms” filled with plants to clean the air and clear our minds. We could be living with the Jetsons!
Repeating the Past?
Some of these “trends” sound more like things that our grandparents would recognize, albeit with a modern twist.
- Did you know that “ecotherapy” is gaining popularity? As you might guess, ecotherapy is interacting with nature to treat conditions like anxiety, depression, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
- Another buzzword we’ve seen is “agrihood.” An agrihood is a community where fruit and vegetables are grown for the residents to consume. Meanwhile, over 114,000 U.S. farms sell directly to consumers.
- We’re also making better use of our space by planting pollinator gardens on “hellstrips”—patches of grass between roads and sidewalks.
- And we’ve finally realized that “pests” are actually helpful in the garden, with new trends that include letting rabbits eat dandelions and using tachinid flies to manage insects.
- Many gardeners are composting and reducing their footprint in an effort to reduce waste. Mini-farms are showing up on rooftops, and all those “imperfect” fruits are being pressed into juices.
What ARE We Planting?
Hardiness is in high demand. Gardeners want plants that can stand up to extreme weather. In regions with high winds, we’re planting native grasses, evergreens, and yarrow. For areas prone to flooding, bayberry, ferns, and shrubs are in vogue. In regions subject to drought, fennel, the date palm, iris, and poppies are all the rage.
City dwellers are going with Burpee’s Space Saver series: ‘Patio Baby’ eggplants, ‘Tidy Treats’ small-fruit tomatoes, or ‘Tangerine Dream’ sweet peppers. Edible flowers are popular, too, with pansies and nasturtiums in salads and pot marigolds (calendula) and impatiens in ice cubes. (Those are some frigid flowers!)
The Circle of Trends
100 years ago, no one could have imagined some of these gardening and farming trends. Nor could they have imagined that it would be unusual to eat food grown on nearby farms. You certainly weren’t going to get your produce from the other side of the country! This year’s Almanac has page after page of trends, from the absurd (you won’t believe how much we spend on dog-walking) to the creepy (guess how many Americans would be willing to live in a haunted house?) to everything in between.
If you want to learn about an array of trends, from farming to health to clothing preferences—and much more useful information, wit, and wisdom—grab a copy of The 2019 Old Farmer’s Almanac!