In regions where cotton is the principal crop a well-kept garden is the exception, and even in localities where commercial vegetable production is the main industry there is a scarcity of fresh vegetables during a large part of the year. In fact, no feature of southern agriculture is more neglected than the production of vegetables for home use. Growing one crop to the exclusion of all others tends to impoverish a community, because it necessitates sending money out of the community for many of the necessities of life which can and should be produced at home. The farmer who buys vegetables is not only paying the cost of production but is also paying the cost of transportation and marketing. Even if vegetables can be bought more cheaply than they can be produced by the farmer, there are many reasons why they should be grown at home. It is not always possible to secure vegetables in country communities, and those that can be secured are usually stale and inferior in quality to the home-grown product.
It is a well-known fact that fresh vegetables make up a very small part of the diet of the southern farmer's family. It is impossible to make an accurate estimate of the value of the vegetables which may be grown in home gardens in the South, but it is safe to say that a well- kept garden will yield a return eight to ten times as great as the return from an equal area devoted to cotton or to other general farm crops. Of even greater importance than the money value of the products of the garden is the satisfaction of having a bountiful supply of vegetables close at hand where they can be secured at a moment's notice.