Garden centers appear to be getting a coronavirus bump - InfoNews

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Garden centers appear to be getting a coronavirus bump

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March 29, 2020 - 2:30 PM

As people shelter in place and stay home to self-isolate, their new habits are starting to present themselves and apparently many of us are getting back into our gardens.

Vegetable plants and seeds are flying off the shelves this year at garden centers.

“We’re getting orders in by emails and by phone,” said Maria Byland from Bylands Garden Center in West Kelowna. They have to order because the store is now closed to the public.

“Pretty much everything that is selling is seeds or food products. We haven’t even started our fruit trees, but we’re getting a lot of people asking for fruit trees already. So it’s all food related now,” she said.

Nick Moffat from Vernon’s Nicholas Alexander Home & Garden has also noticed a spike in seed and vegetable plant sales this year. Although the store is still open to the public, many are opting to order online.

"We’re starting to see a really big push in our online sales, because I think a lot of people are really not wanting to come in anymore,” Moffat said.

In Kamloops, garden centres are experiencing the same phenomenon.

"We’ve definitely seen an increase in seed sales, specifically vegetable rather than flowers," said an employee at Lyons Landscaping. "A lot of bulk sales too… for soil and gravel. It’s our main sales right now."

Art Knapps has also experienced this trend, in addition to The Greenery in Kelowna.

"The seed rack was basically completely empty. We managed to get it somewhat reloaded finally this morning, but I’ve never seen it that empty,” said a Greenery employee.

As for customers’ motivations for buying seeds and vegetables at this time, it seems to be a combination of factors .

“If they’re stuck at home, that’s a great activity to be doing,” said Byland. "And it’s great to grow your own food, because you don’t know what it’s going to be like, none of us know what’s going to happen.”

At Lyons Landscaping, they've noticed the same thing.

"We have had a few people with large quantities of seeds," said an employee. "They’re wanting to grow their own food, for food security."

However, there are also plenty of customers who are simply hobbyists, and now have a lot of time on their hands.

From what he’s seen, Moffat doesn’t believe the situation is dire.

"I don’t think people are panicking yet, but I think that people are still seeing that there is going to be a shortage,” he said.

Whether you’re a longtime green thumb, you’re in need of a new hobby, or don’t want to go to the grocery store, gardening is a productive way to improve mental health when stuck at home.

“For wellbeing, it’s so important that they can spend time outside in their own yards,” said Byland. "Growing your own food… so that you have a little bit of good news, seeing things grow.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Brie Welton or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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