When the organic movement started...

Where do you find young people discussing “pollinating in the greenhouse”, “the effect of planting date on the productivity of telegraph type cucumbers”, “compost tea in plant growing systems”, and “early crop production in unheated 'poly tunnels'”? I'll give you a hint. Here is anothersendbinaryasp.jpg story, “hydroponics and feeding the planets hungry”. Yea, I am back on the hydroponics subject we started at the last post.

You don't get this kind of discussion in Garden Design, or Sunset magazine. Remember back in the 70's when the whole organic movement got started? I do. It was considered the realm of hippies growing what they do out in the hills. Nothing for us here. Why would a garden center want to get involved with a bunch of people with no money and some complicated “back to the earth” mantra?

Fast forward to today and we all know that organics is the HOT subject. What happened.? Well the hippies got older and it turns out the organic thing actually works. How many garden centers saw this coming? Very few. The only place you could go and learn about organics was the Mother Earth News or Organic Gardening.

Victor mentioned that he doesn't even think Houston has any hydroponics stores. I checked and there are four! Hap mentions that in Berkley there are 5 hydro-stores in a 10 block radius from his store. Fern mentions that insects are needed for pollination in hydo-systems and because of that most food crops like Tomatoes don't do so well in hydroponics. Guess what, I read about it and pollinating tomatoes is just a matter of “flicking' the flowers to get the fruit to “set”.

So it would seem that this aspect of horticulture is mis-understood. It's believed that everyone involved is “up to something”. They are, and it's not necessarily what you think? Just like the hippies of yesterday todays young people are actively involved in and not listening to “the establishment”. Who is the establishment. US! Those of us in the “industry” who feel this is the way to attract he young. The California Pack Trials are full of this strange thinking. According to Amy's post “One exhibitor even posted a series of banners with a single-line caption on each banner. The first three showed a picture of a woman, and the last one had a picture of a man. The captions went like this: 'She Looks. She Shops. She Buys. He Pays.'” Or how about, “ horticultural consultants tell garden center owners that they should not refer to their customers as 'gardeners' at all anymore. This new generation of customers would be insulted by such a term, as they consider a gardener to be someone who gets paid to work in a garden, and apparently, according to this consultant, that's not a good thing.”

My friends, if you want to watch your garden center slowly become obsolete and out of touch then keep listening to the “experts” that tell us the way to the young people is to “dumb” things down. This is very trendy in the “industry” right now. We are told the young just don't have an interest in gardening. That's not true. They are quite interested in horticulture. The young people that come into my store have great questions about fertilizers and growing plants. As a matter of fact I am excited about the enthusiasm. I don't get questions about the different types of bat guano available from the older crowd. I have started carrying Mexican, Jamaican, and Indonesian Bat Guano, as well as Peruvian Seabird Guano. They are selling! So are all of my fertilizers and soils. Not one bottle of Miracle-Gro in sight!

Get out of the office! The bills will still be there when we get back. There are so many opportunities out there but we are being blinded by the way things have been done in the past. Don't listen to me or the other “experts”. Remember how organic gardening was perceived back in the 70's? None of the experts we're telling us to get involved with that aspect of gardening then, we're they?