Quarantine life got you down? Try hitting the garden

Maria Antonieta Valery Gill

As COVID-19 continues to spread across the country and many states have issued state-at-home orders, millions of Americans are experiencing cabin fever.

This virus has not only impacted people's daily lives, but the gardening industry as well.

Spring is in full swing, the weather has been growing warmer, and people are looking for ways to go outside during the pandemic, even if outside is only as far as the backyard. With more people giving their green thumb a workout, garden houses have seen an increase in sales of seeds and gardening supplies in recent weeks.

"I've never seen such influx of people wanting to do gardening," Andrew G. Wedel, general manager at Wedel's Garden Center in Kalamazoo, Michigan, told AccuWeather reporter Blake Naftel.

Garden centers, considered essential businesses in some states, have seen an increase in sales and orders over the past month -- and it is estimated to keep growing.

Around the country, the sale of seeds has increased, as people are buying them to grow their own crops, including potatoes, basil and oregano -- in the case of an emergency.

"We have some people buy $300 in seeds," Wedel said. "We see this (trend) as nothing but going up."

For some people, rather than a way to grow their own food during this pandemic, gardening offers an escape and a way to cope and de-stress, especially during these uncertain times. It is also a way to connect with nature while at home.

Put plainly: Gardening is good for the soul.

Marisa Vicere, founder of Jana Marie Foundation -- an organization that works to promote creative expression to promote mental wellness -- said that gardening can be beneficial for those who are going through rough times.

"Tending to our mental health is a lot like gardening," Vicere told AccuWeather Senior Producer Monica Danielle. "We have to work on it every single day and so we want to find opportunities to do things that we're passionate about and gardening is a great thing, if you like that kind of thing, to just get outside and get in the dirt. Really take time to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us and watching these flowers grow."

Crocuses bloom amid spring warmth. Many Americans are turning to gardening to seek stress relief during the pandemic. (AccuWeather / Blake Naftel)

Garden centers have responded to the increase in demand by creating new modes of delivery for those who can't leave their houses due to stay-at-home orders.

"We have four drivers out running all day," said Wedel. "I have gone three counties wide the last four-five days, all the way to Indiana."

A previous paragraph in this story referenced a rise in seed prices that occurred in 2010. The statistics had no relation to the current trend in gardening across the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Reporting by Blake Naftel and Monica Danielle.

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