With the pandemic locking us all inside our homes, many hobbies are surging. There is an increase in gaming, and people are finally trying to read the book that was gathering dust on their bookshelves. There have been strange panic buying trends as well. People have felt the shortages of baker’s yeast to even toilet paper. And now, there is a shortage of seeds. Perhaps, this might be due to the rise of pandemic gardens.
Seed companies have stopped taking orders of new seeds for a while, due to a sudden increase in demands for seeds. This demand was unprecedented, as per the chairman of Burpee Seeds, George Ball. The company requires some time to restock before they can start accepting new orders.
It can be understandable though. With people staying at home, many of them are getting bored and trying to put their energy in some home-based hobbies. Gardening seems to become a hobby too. With the increasing demand for gardening equipment, it seems like people are starting to create pandemic gardens for themselves.
Isn’t it a strange name? Well, it might fit since Emily Rosa Haga – the Executive director of a nonprofit heirloom seed organization in Iowa, Seed Savers Exchange, has pointed out that this might not be just because of a hobby. People might be gardening as they are worried about food security. After all, food supply is slow. People have to wait for many days before their grocery orders are delivered. The probable solution in their mind: pandemic gardens.
Many Americans are also facing problems with buying food. It’s becoming a struggle with the job losses occurring across the country. The largest food bank of the USA, Feeding America has reported about a 98% increase in demands. Rural America is facing critical problems. Many pantries in rural areas are shutting down as well. Plus, volunteers are worried about their health too.
During the middle of the March, there was a spike in the seed orders recorded by Seed Savers Exchange. Now, it has stopped orders until they stock up. Seed Savers Exchange mentioned how they received twice their normal-level order. They even hired around 16 workers to cope with the demand.
Ball mentions that there is no forced shortage of seeds as no one hoards seeds. Seeds are weighed, packaged, and then sent to the different stores. The problem is that the seed companies do not have adequate pre-packed packets to tackle the customer orders that has suddenly spiked. The pandemic hit during the spring season, and this just made the pent-up demands rise. So, it may not end up in pandemic gardens as such.
Gardeners are also trying to help each other to gain accessibility to seeds. A 47-year-old Texan, Molly Jones, had even offered seeds to many gardeners on Twitter. She noticed that many of her connections were asking for seeds on Twitter. They were not being able to get the seeds shipped. Molly had stocked up seeds as she planned to begin a garden with the children of her sister – who are just between 4-7 years of age. Molly thinks that Americans are stressed, and are probably turning to gardening to de-stress themselves. She wants to be a positive and generous soul during this period.
As per the seed companies, there is a demand for early-season crops like peas and lettuce. Similarly, staple crops like beans are being demanded too, as per Haga. It seems like the pandemic gardens theory might not be off the table yet.
Ball advises the gardeners to take it slow. It might take some time to restock the seeds. He also mentioned that gardeners need not panic and think that spring is going away. There is generally a 5-week window between the mid-April period and 1st June.
So, you don’t have to be anxious. You can wait.
Pandemic gardens may not be the right choice now.
Image Credit: asife