During the current stay-at-home order, one thing Haliburton County residents can do is get ready for another gardening season, says Sue King of Pine Reflections in Carnarvon.

Reopening at the beginning of April, King said “I think it’s going to be just as busy or busier” than last year when the initial COVID-19 lockdown saw a surge in vegetable and flower gardening as well as outdoor space beautification.

King said COVID helped her and her staff to achieve a pre-pandemic goal of gently getting people to garden as a de-stressor at a time when the world was getting busier, faster and embracing instant gratification.

“I’d noticed a lot of people, their stress levels were just going through the roof, especially if they were coming up from the city. So, we were gently trying to get people into gardening. There’s something very meditative about digging in dirt and we know the holistic benefits of grounding yourself.”

“And then with COVID and the lockdown, people realized how important it was,” she added.

She said staring last spring, they began to get people interested that didn’t have the opportunity in the past because they were either too busy or just did not put it high on their priority list.

“It was a very exciting time for us because although we never want to force anyone to make a change in habit, to us it was a great way to show people the dirtier your knees are, the less stress you have.”

Kind said they had people who were growing vegetables for the first time.

“And there is actually something very exciting about watching something grow. And being able to eat your own tomato from your own plant.”

She said proud clients were coming back with photographs and “wonderful” stories about the beautiful spaces they were creating. She said they were also empowered, telling her and her staff, “I can do this.”

She added the Pine Reflections staff were able to educate people.

What is different this year is the supply and demand chain has been affected by COVID, so ensuring stock will be more of challenge for garden centres, King said. She is confident in her wholesale suppliers, however, making weekly trips to restock. In her tenth year in business, she added she is resourceful.

The industry is hoping people will stretch out their buying and not horde plants in May, similar to the toilet paper hording of 2020.

However, she said the local demand is already starting after a long winter in which people have been planning their 2021 gardens.

However, she reminds people it’s a bit early to get going.

“You’ve got to watch Mother Nature up here.”

That said, it is a good time to check your soil and your growing zone. She said a foot down the soils is too cold and wet to sustain root growth and expects the dirty work will begin midMay to early June.

She implores gardeners to be patient since a Farmers’ Almanac prediction of a warm summer will mean a long and abundant growing season.

“it was a great season last year and this year is going to be even bigger and better.”

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