DURHAM, N.C. — George Davis knows a thing or two about gardening.

After all, he has more than six decades of experience doing it.

What You Need To Know

  • In 2023, food prices are expected to increase 3.5%-4.5%, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture

  • In 2022, fresh vegetable prices rose 6.5%-7.5%

  • A $70 investment in home gardening can yield a $600 return on investment, says George Davis of Stone Brothers and Byrd in Durham

“I’ve been doing it pretty much all my life and throughly enjoy it," Davis said. "I still enjoy getting my fingers in the dirt, and that’s all part of it. Even after six full days down here, I live for Sunday afternoons working in the yard and gardens.

For 47 years, he has been sharing his expertise here at Stone Brothers and Byrd, which he bought when he was 29.

The last few years he seen a peak in interest in gardening, but he says the biggest challenge can be for people to stick with it for longer than just a phase. 

“Hopefully that will continue with their heirs and whatnot, and their children will follow in their footsteps," Davis said. 

While the methods of gardening and farming have continually changed, there are some that Davis recommends to almost all first-time gardeners.

One of his favorites is raised-bed gardens.

“So your investment is in the preparation of the tank, or the raised bed, initially. But once you’ve got it, my gracious you can grow things year-round, both spring and fall, and really get the most out of it," Davis said.

Getting the most out your farming investment is Davis' biggest pitch to those on the fence.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 2023 food prices are predicted to increase 3.5% to 4.5%.

In 2022, fresh vegetable prices increased 6.5% to 7.5%.

Davis says if you want to save money, you might as well grow it yourself. 

“Not to mention the quality of what you’re raising is better than anything you can buy in a grocery store," Davis said. "So there are all kinds of benefits to gardening. From mental health to your pocketbook, to being with friends that you enjoy. These community gardens, there’s so much good that comes of it.” 

For anyone who might not know how to start their own garden, Davis said he can get you pointed in the right direction. 

“We will certainly help them any way we can," Davis said. "We’ve been doing this for a little while, 113 years, so yeah, we will be more than happy to help them with it, and my staff will, too. We will guide you any way we possibly can.”