By Kat Bryant
Grays Harbor News Group
Harborites get their hands dirtier than ever as they drive out of the pandemic at home.
That’s because they work in their gardens.
Barb Anderson, co-owner of Marshalls Garden & Pet Supply in Aberdeen, has seen a surge in buzz for general home and garden activities as people seek a distraction from the daily news. “A lot of people just work on their lawns, bird watching and the like,” she said.
But for many there is a more practical motive.
“There was a lot of interest in the vegetable garden because people are concerned about food security,” said Anderson. “Seeds are very important and we are striving to find enough plants to meet demand.”
Many are cultivating gardens for the first time. Adam Zeigler, co-owner of Ambrosia Technology, saw this trend and responded by organizing a giveaway for starter kits for beginners.
On March 26, nearly 250 families in Raymond and Aberdeen received parcels containing one liter of Sea Crop plant nutrient donated by Ambrosia. one gallon of fish manure from Pacific Gro; and a bag of various fruit, vegetable and flower seeds from Dennis Co.’s Raymond Store
“The current home order and layoffs will create a great urgency for a return to horticulture and disaster preparedness,” said Doug McDonald, branch manager of Dennis Co., who has donated over 1,000 seed packets to the effort.
Zeigler announced the giveaway in advance on Facebook and then distributed the kits in Raymond and Aberdeen that weekend with the help of some volunteers.
The response was breathtaking.
“It’s always very difficult to predict what the real demand will be for something online because it takes a lot more effort to display than press the” Like “button. The turnout really blew me away, ”said Zeigler. “We ended up having to replenish it before heading north to Aberdeen, as our expected volume for both events was reached in the first hour and a half in Raymond alone.”
People who ranged from young families to retirees took advantage of the opportunity, he said.
“Everyone was grateful, and many people commented on how much they were looking forward to gardening with their children this year,” said Zeigler.
Zeigler said several people who picked up the startup packages drew parallels with the Victory Gardens planted in courtyards across the country during World War II, when food supplies were often sparse. The neighbors grew various foods and shared their harvest with each other.
“At a difficult time you plant a vegetable garden, a victory garden, and that is a kind of security in an uncertain time,” said Karen Tully of Raymond, who remembers her grandmother tending one during the war. “There is no parallel to World War II. I think it’s more an expression of hope for the future – security in the knowledge that working a property and planting seeds and growing those seeds will always help bring food and stability in the year to come. “
Tully used one of the free kits to create a backyard garden with her son and daughter this past weekend.
“I think seeing and witnessing how food is actually grown is going to be a good lesson instead of thinking it’ll just come in a pack from the store,” she said. “I also hope that my daughter will be more willing to eat a vegetable or two if she’s involved in growing them!”