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As I was shopping online last week, I discovered a major nursery had sold out of red currant plants.Another was out of more than half of its apple tree varieties, and Fedco, in Maine, had shut off retail customers from ordering seeds online so that their big commercial growers would have seeds to plant farm fields and supply farm markets.The situation is that folks looking at a second year of lockdowns, staycations, restrictions on travel and even concerns of food shortages are either getting their gardening seeds early, or, like with ammunition — hoarding it so they can sell it at a much higher price on the “black market.”
One would expect the big box stores will get their usual allotments, but when the first round of seeds, trees or bagged soil runs out there may not be a second round restocking.I know that not all those who read this landscape column plan to grow a garden or add a peach tree to their yard, but there will be other stories and topics on creative things to do with the yard to make it function or look more attractive. I have a big group of my readers who do garden, or at least grow some tomatoes and herbs.It’s not a big surprise if sweet corn seeds or tomato seeds start running out, but currants and pawpaws?Plum trees and apples too?Some of us, myself included, seem to have gotten the message.We have planned to garden or grow some fruit trees this year. And we got things ordered early.This column is intended to spur others with intentions of growing some things themselves to get a move on before the items most in demand are all gone. When the local hardware store gets their bean seeds or potatoes, it would probably be best not to say to yourself, “I’ll get some of those in a couple weeks,” as there may well be last minute shoppers who get left out.Let’s take a moment to consider some of the reasons for growing fruits and vegetables. It doesn’t require a large garden or a farm to grow a meal or two in the yard.
Uncertainties are one reason to stock up on some necessities, and to grow others. So we don’t have to dash to a restaurant or grocery every day or two for some lettuce or tomatoes.As we’ve found out in the past year, everything from boycotts to riots to strikes and boycots to a run on toilet paper can mess us up if we’re not prepared.Home-grown food in many cases is also much cheaper. If a half pint of organic blueberries is $6.99 at Kroger, and you can grow 10 or 20 pints on a blueberry bush in your yard on a bush that costs 15 to 30 dollars, you’ll come out ahead just with the first quart of harvest.Then, for 20 or maybe 50 years, that blueberry bush will keep producing those same 10 or more pints of fruits every year with just a little attention.For so many working and staying home, or home by necessity to watch the children, getting some sunshine and stretching the budget can even be entertaining and is a perfect opportunity for family time together.Freshness of food you produce yourself cannot be beat. And you don’t have to wonder if 10 other sets of germy hands may have handled it by the time you get home from the supermarket with it.This especially applies to Salad items meant for raw consumption.And for the environmentally conscious, tomatoes from Mexico or cherries from Turkey cannot possibly be as easy on the planet as growing them yourself or buying from your local farmer — not even if commercial growers used solar greenhouses for growing and electric trucks for shipping!My reason for this column wasn’t to convince you to grow your own necessarily, but to remind you if you plan to do so, don’t wait until the last minute to buy your supplies, or you may be disappointed.The author is a landscaper. (606) 416-3911 and website: www.rockcastles.net Feedback, comments and suggestions for future articles are welcome.
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