Pandemic gardens trending
With the national mood feeling a bit like a pre-World War era, Americans have returned to planting Victory gardens. These home gardens full of vegetables, fruits and herbs were encouraged to bolster the diets and the morale of those at home during a time of rationing and to take pressure off the national food supply.
The coronavirus pandemic pinched our own supply of food with outbreaks at meat packing plants, an increased demand on food banks and pantries and reduced trips to grocery stores, making it harder and less convenient to get fresh foods. Enter the rise of the pandemic garden.
Area garden centers have seen a surge in demand for gardening supplies, yet for a brief moment finding the seeds to start your own garden was as difficult as finding toilet paper was in the early days of the crisis. The sudden demand led many seed companies to halt new orders because of the overwhelming surge. Online retailers Johnny’s Seeds and Burpee Seeds sold out of stock rapidly, but do not fear, local suppliers say it’s only temporary.
“We have plenty of seeds,” says Ray Greenstreet of Greenstreet Gardens. “But yes, it’s been a bit crazy. Sales of vegetable and herb seeds and plants have been way up.”
Homestead Gardens has also seen a significant surge in customer’s purchasing gardening and farm supplies over the past few months. “Our annuals department has had trouble keeping herbs and veggies in stock both because of the customer demand and limited supply from vendors,” says KT Wallin, brand marketing manager for Homestead. “We’re starting to face even more supply issues as vendors have little to no inventory from facility closures. Even this week we’re having trouble sourcing items like topsoil and compost for related reasons.”
Greenstreet says the early rush to purchase garden items stemmed from a lot of people being home with time on their hands and a desire to grow their own food. “But then Mother Nature threw us a major curveball with the weather.”
Damp and chilly days led to some damage to those early plantings, but there’s still plenty of time for gardeners to start planting. “There’s not a seed shortage, there’s just a shortage of employees able to process the orders,” says Greenstreet.
Local nurseries will continue to plant, grow and sell vegetables and herbs all summer, the harvest just may be a little later due to the weather.
In all, Greenstreet says to imagine the seed demand surge a bit like Amazon. “What you used to be able to get in two days, now takes ten… If you haven’t planted yet, you haven’t missed the boat, just get out there and get started.”