I spent last week at the Independent Garden Center Show at the Navy Pier in Chicago. To say the event was overwhelming is an understatement.
The tradeshow spanned five acres and was filled with hundreds of vendors ready to take orders that will stock the shelves of local garden centers from coast to coast. It seems I walked every aisle and looked at every product, because I was certainly tired enough at the end of the three-day show.
One of the most popular stops was at the window of the Burpee food truck. Burpee representatives handed out vegetable “shots” as a way to introduce the Grow Anywhere Tour and to help sustain weary shoppers.
Burpee is a well-established brand known for its innovative approach to gardening and this tour is another way the company plans to get more fresh vegetables to people around the country.
The tour begins in March and will stop in areas of 25 cities where there are people, but little fresh produce. The tour will distribute 13,000 vegetable plants and 40,000 pounds of produce. Watch for information about the tour starting early next year.
Another new introduction from Burpee is its line of grafted tomatoes. These heirloom tomatoes, part of Burpee’s Home Gardens line, will make it easier for gardeners to harvest bigger crops of flavorful heirlooms in their home gardens.
One of the vegetable gardening trends I noticed at the show was the large number of organic fertilizers and natural pest control products. Organic gardeners should have a good selection to choose from next year.
I also noticed there were more products aimed at small-space vegetable gardening, including new approaches to patio gardening and vertical gardens.
Some of the products I thought especially attractive were the Home Allotment planters from Burgon & Ball. These planters include a planting bag that fits inside a willow planter allowing gardeners to grow greens, potatoes and large vegetables in containers outside the kitchen door.
Do any of these new gardening ideas appeal to you?