If you’ve always been a gardener, this spring you may have been surprised to find backorders through your favorite seed companies and crowded parking lots at your garden center. Gardening is experiencing an upsurge as Americans grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and search for fun and productive ways to use their time.
According to Reuters, U.S. company Burpee sold more seed than at any time in its 144-year history in March. Johnny’s Selected Seeds in Maine, saw a 270 percent increase in orders the week after U.S. President Donald Trump declared a national emergency. The trend, it appears is also worldwide, with Russian demand for seeds rising by up to 30 percent in March, and Canada-based Stokes Seeds receiving 1,000 online orders during a single March weekend, four times more than normal.
Many residents at Brandermill Woods enjoy getting out in the sunshine to do a little gardening or nurture some patio plants. So, if you’re into gardening, you’re in great company! If you’re not quite a green thumb, don’t worry; there are plenty of resources. If you’re just getting started, try these tips for gardening this spring:
- Clean it out. Make sure you have cleared out debris and weeds and create a rich growing environment.
- Make it easier on yourself. Gardening doesn’t have to be a chore. Create raised beds to reduce back-breaking work at ground level. Raised beds can also improve drainage and make harvesting easier. Consider installing irrigation or watering systems on a timer to cut down on manual watering. Be sure to choose plants for your planting zone and follow directions that come with your seeds or plants.
- Add variety. Along with low-growing plants, add some vertical interest with vines, trellises, tomato cages and fences. Hanging plants are lovely but can require a lot of work to keep properly watered and fertilized.
- Enjoy the view. Add a bench near your garden so you can take breaks and enjoy watching the soil come to life. Add elements to your garden that express your personality.
- Keep it accessible. When designing your garden, think of how to make it easy to get in and out without getting muddy or losing footing on a steep slope. Add pavers or other walkways and keep in mind drainage to reduce slips. When working, use a kneeling bench and bend at the knees and hips (rather than the back) to avoid injury.
- Stay safe. Be sure to wear sunscreen and insect repellent when working outside. Work in the early morning or evenings when the sun is lowest to avoid overheating and dehydration. Wear a broad-brimmed hat, sunglasses and gardening gloves.
- Keep it simple. If growing a garden plot seems overwhelming, plant a few containers. Gardening is meant to bring joy and stress relief. Don’t overburden yourself with its care.
In the movie Steel Magnolias, the young hairdresser Annelle asks her older client Ouiser why she grows tomatoes if she doesn’t eat them: "Because I'm an old Southern woman and we're supposed to wear funny looking hats and ugly clothes and grow vegetables in the dirt. Don't ask me those questions. I don't know why; I don't make the rules!"
Don’t be a Ouiser. Be yourself, and grow what you enjoy!