"When does gardening become farming?"

"When does gardening become farming? When are you no longer having dinner parties and running a restaurant instead?"

This question come to us via the Editorial Reviews for Elliot Coleman's book, "The Winter Harvest Handbook: Year Round Vegetable Production Using Deep Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses". What are 'deep organic technique's"? I have no idea, but will have to read the book to find out. It won't be long before some customers ask us at the garden center, and I want to have an answer.

Elliot's book is a best seller,#9 at Amazon.com under gardening and horticulture. It's really an eye opener for myself to check out what's selling at the "bookstore". Just above Elliot's books at #8 is "Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits & Vegetables", and right after at #10 is "Marijuana Grower's Handbook: Your Complete Guide for Medical and Personal Marijuana Cultivation".

If you're in the business of selling to gardeners it's important to know what they are up to. We talked earlier about Dig, Drop, and Done (the bulb industries attempt to appeal to "real" people). Yes, I can see the ladies at Dig, Drop, and Done talking about how they use "deep organic technique's" when gardening. The campaign for the bulbs is of course aimed at non-gardeners. It's an attempt to get people interested in a subject they might never have had an interest in before, planting bulbs. Are we advertising to the wrong people?

Let my next customer be someone who is interested in "deep organic techniques" and not someone looking for bulbs to "dig, drop, and done." "The deep organic technique" person is someone who is already interested in the subject, has a willingness to try new things, and likely will be in the store time and time again to continue their learning. The whole Dig, Drop and Done campaign predicates a person who, once done planting those bulbs is DONE. No more trips to the garden center.

In an attempt to "rescue" gardening from the continuing decline in interest amongst the general population we miss the people who are already fired up about the garden. It will take a change in our thinking about our customers. Who are we attempting to attract and why? Give me one customer who is interested in "deep organic techniques" over 5 who just want to "be done".

Now I'm off to learn about those "deep organic techniques." Got to try and stay one step ahead of my customers.