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During pandemic, food gardening still surging

The Plant Foundry in Sacramento's Oak Park neghborhood has continued to see demand for vegetables and all other edibles. (Photo courtesy The Plant Foundry)

The Plant Foundry among nurseries seeing high demand for edible plants

Pandemic gardening keeps on surging.

As sheltered Sacramentans try their hand at growing things during COVID-19 restrictions, local nurseries and plant companies continue to see high demand, particularly for edible plants.

“People are really interested in food,” said Angela Pratt, owner of The Plant Foundry in Oak Park. “It’s hard to keep edible plants in stock. Everything edible is really selling: fruit trees, herbs and vegetables, edible vines such as passionflower or hops.

"People want to grow things even vaguely edible. They’re stuck at home, they want to grow their own food — and they can. It’s a good impulse to fulfill.”

Pratt and her staff have embraced social distancing, face masks and other protections during the pandemic to keep both themselves and customers safe. Only three customers at a time are allowed in the open-air nursery.

Angela Pratt wearing a mask
Angela Pratt (Photo courtesy Eileen Lynch)
Thanks to that interest in growing food, business has been good during the pandemic, Pratt added. “This is the first year we’ll sell out of stone fruit trees. We’ve already run out of potatoes; we’ve never done that. Seeds are flying off the racks. We even ran out of roses.”

Pratt also saw many parents getting into gardening with their kids as a part of home schooling during the pandemic. “It’s a way to teach about nature,” she said.

The renewed interest in gardening has gone beyond edibles.

“Houseplants are back,” Pratt said. “Before the pandemic, they were our biggest seller. Sales plummeted at first, but now, houseplants are selling again, too.”


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Garden Checklist for week of May 19

Temperatures will be a bit higher than normal in the afternoons this week. Take care of chores early in the day – then enjoy the afternoon. It’s time to smell the roses.

* Plant, plant, plant! It’s prime planting season in the Sacramento area. If you haven’t already, it’s time to set out those tomato transplants along with peppers and eggplants. Pinch off any flowers on new transplants to make them concentrate on establishing roots instead of setting premature fruit.

* Direct-seed melons, cucumbers, summer squash, corn, radishes, pumpkins and annual herbs such as basil.

* Harvest cabbage, lettuce, peas and green onions.

* In the flower garden, direct-seed sunflowers, cosmos, salvia, zinnias, marigolds, celosia and asters.

* Plant dahlia tubers. Other perennials to set out include verbena, coreopsis, coneflower and astilbe.

* Transplant petunias, marigolds and perennial flowers such as astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia and verbena.

* Keep an eye out for slugs, snails, earwigs and aphids that want to dine on tender new growth.

* Feed summer bloomers with a balanced fertilizer.

* For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants.

* Don’t forget to water. Seedlings need moisture. Deep watering will help build strong roots and healthy plants.

* Add mulch to the garden to help keep that precious water from evaporating. Mulch also cuts down on weeds. But don’t let it mound around the stems or trunks of trees or shrubs. Leave about a 6-inch to 1-foot circle to avoid crown rot or other problems.

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