Area greenhouses have been swamped with customers more this spring than in a normal year. Needless to say, this is not a normal year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They are finding it challenging to keep up to the demand for vegetables, flowers and seeds.
“If this keeps up, we could be out of plants in two weeks,” said Andy Fix who owns Bassett’s Greenery with Katie Anderson near Warman north of Mora. “Our seed rack has never been so empty since it was built.”
Bassett’s vegetable house was running low on everything last week as well as their flower baskets. They normally have 1,600 hanging baskets. Last week they only had 200 left. “People are buying everything, vegetables, flowers and seeds,” added Anderson. “People are anxious to buy and get outside after being cooped up in the house. Some are concerned about groceries and the food supply. It’s soul-searching therapy.”
They have installed a handwashing station. Some people wear masks. Most people are respectful and keep their six-foot distance. They are seeing a lot of new customers this year who have never gardened before or never knew where their nursery was located.
“We are thankful that we were allowed to be open. It would have been devastating if we could not have been able to open,” she added.
Frerich’s Nursery in Pine City has been experiencing the same buyer frenzy. “It’s been a good year for us,” said Sandi Frerich who has owned Frerichs along with her husband Ralph for 36 years. She said that due to the pandemic people have more time. They want to get out and have had no place to go. “They want to plant and grow their own food and beautify their homes with flowers,” she added.
She said that people are buying everything including tomatoes, peppers and flower baskets. “We are out of geraniums. We grow what we sell so we have no plants in reserve,” she said.
“We were so lucky to be allowed to sell,” she added. “If not, we would have been out of a lot of money.”
Johnson’s Hardware greenhouse in Mora redid their layout to create more social distancing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The pandemic did not affect us as much as we thought it might,” said owner Matt Johnson.
People are buying everything including vegetables and flowers. They are out of seed potatoes and onion sets. Their biggest challenge has been the availability of plants, especially flowers. Their suppliers are experiencing a high demand for plants everywhere and are running out of additional plants.
He was hoping for two new deliveries last week to replenish their supply. “I’m glad that we came into the season as well prepared as we did. However, it has been disappointing to get restocked this year,” he added.
They too are seeing a wide variety of customers from experienced to newcomers to gardening. “People like to grow their own food and it’s a relaxing hobby during this stressful time,” added Matt.
“This year has been fantastic,” said Bev Sowers, manager of Beaver Meadows garden center south of Hinckley. “We are so thankful to be open”.
She said that their greenhouses are emptying out and they are having a hard time to keeping up. Vegetables, geraniums and vegetable seeds have been most in demand.
She estimated that 90% of their customers are experienced gardeners and 10% are first timers. She thinks the increased interest in gardening comes partly from a lot of people gardening for the first time due to the pandemic. Another area of interest has been that more people are installing raised beds which have become very popular.
Usually Beaver Meadows has a dollar sale around the 4th of July when people can pay $1 for all that they can fit into a box. “The way things are going, there will not be a dollar sale this year. In fact, we may not even hit July,” she concluded.