Pandemic sprouts new interest in home gardening, sales grow

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Hoosiers have found a new hobby to keep busy while the stay-at-home order remains in place — gardening.

The family friendly activity, for many, has served as a stress-reliever not only from boredom, but also from concerns over food security as shoppers flock to grocery stores to purchase produce.

“I think a lot of people are concerned with food shortages and the situations going on with meat processing plants going down and more people are starting to think about providing for themselves,” said co-owner of Broadview Landscaping & Nursery, Nicole Johnson.

Johnson said phones have been ringing nonstop from recurring and a new customers wanting to purchase home gardening products. The landscape company, located at 13206 Tonkel Road, has been offering curbside pickup and delivery; only allowing some customers at a time to browse if they call ahead of time. Johnson said 90 percent of calls coming in are from people who are putting up raised big gardens for the first time.

“We are busy delivery top soil, black dirt, compost, and mulch all over the area, and taking a lot of questions too” Nicole said. “A lot of people getting started don’t know how much soil they need and it’s always fun to tell people ‘it’s still a little bit early to put some of those garden plants out.”

The biggest obstacle for Johnson has been keeping up with the demand with little help. Currently, only 3 or 4 employees work a day. Before the pandemic, 20 workers would help customers a day.

“We are a seasonal employer and really what happened is we had a lot of people that did not come back, a lot of people get another job in the winter and have since filed for unemployment, so we have people that are making to be able to stay home and stay safe.”

Fruit and vegetable seed sales have also jumped, not just in Indiana, but worldwide.

Sites like Park Seed have seen an unusually high demand for vegetable and herb seeds. The company is asking customers to be patient while they process their order.

Burpee has also seen an increase in sells and call this year’s performance “incredibly strong.”

“The biggest increase has been in vegetables, which have taken on a greater interest among consumers.  We have seen consistent gains across all our channels of sale–both retail and online,” said Burpee president and CEO, Jamie Mattikow in an email to WANE 15.

Mattikow added that Burpee has an ample supply of seed and is shipping orders.

Broadview Landscaping & Nursery is hiring. Watch our full interview with Nicole Johnson below to learn more:

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