Will the pandemic home gardening trend continue?
If you weren’t a gardener before, the COVID-19 pandemic may have inspired you to start a veggie garden. Johnny’s Selected Seeds in Fairfield, Maine, saw a 270% jump in orders the week the coronavirus pandemic was declared a national emergency. Many local nurseries sold out of vegetable transplants fast last spring, citing they couldn’t keep up with demand.
Many first time and experienced gardeners found that while isolating at home, gardening was a therapeutic activity for their families that gave them a sense of security amidst uncertainty in access to food. The trend is expected to continue this season, but only time will tell if this COVID-19 inspired hobby will take off long-term.
3 Tips for Planning Your 2021 Veggie Garden
1. Resist starting too early
While we are having an unseasonably warm spring, don’t be too eager to put tomato plants in the ground quite yet. You can plan your garden timeline based on your USDA hardiness zone. Find more information on planting dates from the CCE master gardening program here.
RESOURCES FOR GARDENERS
2. Buy locally grown transplants
Visiting your local greenhouse or farmers market for your transplants will get you off to a great start! Many times, plants that are grown and sold at local nurseries are better adapted to the conditions of your region.
FIND A MARKET OR FARMSTAND
3. You can use SNAP/P-EBT dollars to buy plants
You can use your SNAP benefits (including P-EBT benefits) to buy food-producing plants or seeds at any authorized SNAP retailer. Learn more here.
FIND LOCAL SNAP VENDORS
Free Seed Kits + Demonstrations For Essex Co Kids!
CCE Essex’s Farm to School Program is offering Salad Garden Seed Kits to students in Essex County! These kits will contain five seed packets: lettuce, carrots, radishes, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes, and a small amount of potting soil. CCE Essex will provide instructions, videos and Q & A sessions to guide you from seed starting to preparing a salad with your vegetables.
The kits will be available for pick up at the CCE office in Lewis. If you are unable to pick them up, we will do our best to make other arrangements.
Photo: Cilantro and cucumber plants for sale at Drinkwine Produce farmstand in Ticonderoga, NY