Blogosphere abloom about gardens

With the economy still struggling, an old trend is making a comeback: vegetable gardens. Consumers are reading up on gardening practices, buying tools and planting seeds in hopes of reaping the bounty early this fall, and saving money on groceries.

With the economy still struggling, an old trend is making a comeback: vegetable gardens. Consumers are reading up on gardening practices, buying tools and planting seeds in hopes of reaping the bounty early this fall, and saving money on groceries. BuzzLogic took a look at the social Web to see what kinds of gardening topics are being discussed.

•    Because of the news buzz around the White House's new vegetable garden, BuzzLogic took a look at conversations about “Obama” and “garden.”  Thirty-three percent of the influencers mention Michelle Obama, the driving force behind the White House garden, while another 30% mention “garden grants”, which are being offered to youth organizations and schools by the National Gardening Association. The influential blogs for the White House garden conversation include Treehugger, Re-Nest, and The Kitchn. Influence is determined by more than a dozen criteria, including linking activity.

•    Looking at conversations around “organic gardening” BuzzLogic found that three of the top 10 most influential blog posts referred to the White House garden.  Forty percent of influencers talk about organic vegetables, while 10% use the term “just for hippies” in their posts. We know it's not just hippies growing organic vegetables today, and the practice is gaining steam. Influential blogs on this topic include: Like Cool, Take Part, and Apartment Therapy.

•    The phrase “backyard garden” is a very popular string in the social Web now as consumers plan the contents of their gardens. Among the conversations around “backyard garden,” 75% of influencers discussed two types of gardens: “victory garden,” a term used during the first two World Wars by the US government to encourage Americans to plant gardens in support of the war efforts and “pizza gardens,” a popular garden plan which includes oregano, basil, parsley, tomatoes, peppers, and onions. Regardless of the type of garden consumers are planning, we are definitely in the midst of an old trend becoming hot again. 

•    BuzzLogic also looked at conversations that included the terms “garden,” “home,” and “vegetables” to see if we could get more clarity around the hot veggies for the summer. What BuzzLogic found was that 25% of the influencers are talking about food prices, a driving force behind the trend of home gardens. BuzzLogic also found that 23% are talking about canning vegetables, another tradition of years gone by that has picked up steam as consumers look to cut food costs in this down economy. 

•    In conversations about “garden” and “tools,” 21% of the influencers are discussing the very important “hand tools” and 8% are discussing how to clean the tools. Discovery's PlanetGreen blog has the most influential post on the subject, listing the five most essential tools for organic gardening.

Consumers continue to find ways to save money, especially on necessities like food, and are searching for advice and ideas on the Web. PR and marketing executives have a unique opportunity to target consumers on the sites where they are searching for gardening advice, and can tailor messages accordingly. Understanding how consumer behavior is changing in this economy, in addition to the new activities consumers are adopting, can help hone messages to speak to current consumer behaviors and more effectively target the audience.

Evaluation and analysis by BuzzLogic's Insights. Insights determines blog influence by factoring over a dozen criteria, including posting habits and linking activity.  Based on the analysis of 803 blog postings from February 24 – April 27, 2009.

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