Gardening and chick buying are exploding during pandemic

Kathy Wright of Hyrum prepares the soil so she can plant in her garden Wednesday afternoon.

CACHE VALLEY – Interest in gardening has increased due to COVID-19. Cliff Lillywhite, one of the owners of Oakdale Eggs, said their chicken fertilizer sales are up about 500 percent this year from last year.

Sydnee Golightly holds one of 700 chicks that came into the store on Wednesday.

Not only is toilet paper in short supply, but the little fuzzy peepers are going as fast as farm stores can get them in.

Todd Henrie, manager at Cal Ranch, said the sales are going through the roof.

“As soon as we get them in they are gone,” he said. “Since about the middle of March, we’ve been selling 400 to 500 chicks a week.”

He said they had four chicken coops, priced at $400 a piece, and they sold all of them in a week.

Kathy Wright of Hyrum plants a tomato plant in her garden Wednesday afternoon.

But the chickens aren’t the only things moving right now. Garden supply stores can’t keep up with demand for equipment, plants and anything else that goes in a garden. They also had some smallish green houses that have sold out in their 26 stores.

Jason Miller, vice president of marketing for Cal Ranch Stores, said he is seeing gardening as a popular thing right now.

Starting about two weeks ago, we have seen a substantial surge in gardening supplies,” Miller said. “Sales are quite a bit higher than last year.”

He said he thought there were two reasons for the increased interest in gardening.

“People want to get outdoors and have fun. Gardening can be fun,” he said. “My family is doing more gardening this year because they have more time.”

He said his kids can’t go to dance practice or play sports right now so they have more time on their hands.

“I think the second reason is the fear of the unknown,” Miller said. “People fear they may not have food, and they may not.”

Moose Mountcastle, owner of Garden Gateway, said he can hardly keep up with the demand for garden plants this year.

Moose Mountcastle, owner of Garden Gateway, said they pushed back opening the store due to the social distancing rules and tried some internet sales.

“We opened two weeks late because of the conronavirus,” Mountcasle said. “We tried doing some stuff online, but a lot of people still waited for us to open.”

He said planting is still a month away, people don’t want to buy a plant now.

We see this happen during every economic downturn,” he said. “We saw it in 2008 and 2011. When the economy tanks, there is an upswing in gardening, mostly for vegetables,” he said. “It’s big. They want to plant their own food. This year is a little different, people are also buying flowers and other ornamental plants.”

People are buying things left and right.

Kathy Wright of Hyrum unloads a flat of plants she is going to plant in her garden Wednesday afternoon.

Ed and Kathy Wright of Hyrum went into Anderson’s Seed and Garden in Logan to buy plants for their garden and they said it was packed with customers.

“Everything was going fast. We thought if we were going to get anything good, we better get it then,” Ed said. “If we waited they may not have anything left.”

 

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