Digging for a pandemic gardening boom

At the time of the epidemic, new interests and old hobbies helped divert attention from the boredom of confinement and the circulation of news. We tried, we learned, we bragged, we stopped, we tried something else.

Many popular quarantine businesses had a distinctly analog taste. (Do you remember baking sourdough bread and swearing cross-eyed?) But when it came to using our hands to deal with our thoughts and emotions, people chose plants.

During the quarantine, home gardens have hatched everywhere and they are still living their moment in the sun. A quick flip through social media shows that thousands of houseplants influence tips on mating, propagation, and transplanting. Pictures of plants on the coffee table replaced the selfies taken with friends in the cafe.

With a world-class arboretum, a thriving horticultural program, extensive outreach, and countless learning resources, NC State covers a wide range of horticultural areas. If you’re ready to start your first garden or take better care of your existing one, look no further.

Our horticultural and hobby gardening experts will help you and your chlorophyll team thrive beyond closure.

Outside and indoors, home gardens thrive

What about the horrible charm? Gardening took root at the time of the epidemic for many reasons.

As they spent more time at home, people saw their courtyards as an extension of their house and a safer gathering place. The plants are beautiful; many smells and tastes fantastic. In times of stress and uncertainty, you can feel productive if you are looking to grow something.

Gardening is available. There is no need for extensive courtyards or expensive equipment; flowering plant family can grow in raised beds, vertical pallets or terracotta pots.

Plus, it’s extremely unique and customizable: perennial edging, hanging potty collections, terraced vegetable gardens, kitchen window experiments – everything that matters under your nails matters.

From solitary succulents to personal jungles

Although the “plant parent” trend took root years ago, the popularity of houseplants soared during quarantine.

The days spent endless at home have led many to redecorate and rearrange their surroundings, and unlike many decorations, plants grow and change, which can be traced when Tuesday is indistinguishable from Saturday. They can also improve air quality and improve mood – with low stakes to brighten up in the dark.

If you want to create your own indoor garden or just need help with your potted friends, NC State expert advice is provided in the entries below.

Home-grown know-how

Much of NC State’s land support mission is to put research into the hands of people across the state. An example? Homegrown, NC State Extension’s one-stop information store, with useful information for novice container gardeners to experienced farmers, as well as recipes and food safety tips for all the products they produce.

Justin Moore, director of marketing and communications at NC State Extension, said the Homegrown program – and the Extension as a whole – expanded significantly during the epidemic to serve as a timely resource for North Carolinaers in uncertain times.

“Especially in the early stages, when communities across the country – and as a matter of the world – closed it down, people were isolated, scared and looking for escape,” Moore says. “What better way to divert your attention from a public health emergency than to grow something bright and beautiful?”

What better way to divert your attention from a public health emergency than to grow something bright and beautiful?

With helpful tips from local experts, Homegrown gives a friendly voice on related – and reassuring – topics, such as growing vegetables in the garden and enjoying the crop, no matter how small.

“The pandemic is unlike anything most people have experienced,” Moore says. “We were able to help our neighbors regain a little sense of normalcy and control in an otherwise chaotic situation, which can be reassuring. It’s like reminding yourself, “Got it, everything will be fine.”

Urban gardening with an expert

Lucy Bradley is the director of the NC State Extension Urban Horticulture Program, which includes consumer gardening, community gardening, therapeutic gardening, and the Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program.

Bradley notes a number of factors that led to the increased popularity of horticulture during the epidemic.

“First, people had more time at home. And with the initial challenges in the supply chain, they began to take an interest in food production, ”says Bradley. “In fact, many seed companies ran out of seeds at the time of the epidemic.”

Bradley also points out that the money usually spent on travel has been diverted to home renovations, which include landscaping and beautification.

The best tips for new gardeners are simple. “Start small. A vibrant, thriving little garden is fun and manageable, ”says Bradley. “Then expand gradually.”

Start small. A vibrant, thriving little garden is fun and manageable.

Due to different growth needs, Bradley recommends adhering to a regional planting calendar to get the right timing within a given climate. “Some plants perform better in spring and fall, others bloom in the long days of summer,” he explains. Planting calendars are available in the eastern, central, and western regions of North Carolina.

Bradley also advises against gardeners ’frequent frustration:“ I hear most questions about tomatoes, ”he says. “It’s hard to grow tomatoes in North Carolina. They are susceptible to many diseases. If you want to grow tomatoes, plant cherry tomatoes. They are much more resilient. ”

Tomatoes on the vine at Henderson County Henderson Henderson Henderson Horticultural Research and Extension Center.
Tomatoes on the vine at Henderson County Henderson Henderson Henderson Horticultural Research and Extension Center.

What is the best way to learn more about gardening? “There are a number of useful strategies,” Bradley says. She suggests taking a course at your local cooperative expansion center or contacting mentors in the community garden next door. Also useful? The Extension Gardener Handbook and the vegetable gardening portal on the NC State Extension website.

Botanical Wonderland next door

If there’s a place where plants are known, it’s the JC Raulston Arboretum. This nationally acclaimed 10-acre wonder has 13 large gardens with more than 6,000 taxa from 50 countries. The arboretum functions as a living laboratory; the plants are collected and valued to find excellent species for use in the southern landscapes.

We talked to Mark Weathington, director of the arboretum, about the horticultural boom of 2020.

He mentions the popularity of gardening as an antidote to cabin fever. “We’ve been stuck at home for a long time, and being outside is a way to get out of the house,” he said.

They also peeked into the neighbors ’yard during frequent walks and dreamed of plans.

“I think a lot of people were gardening and talking to neighbors and dog walkers, from a safe distance, of course,” Weathington said. – I know I did.

Best tips for home gardeners? “Your garden needs to make you happy and no one else’s. Enjoy what you do and don’t worry about the so-called rules. ” According to him, the wisest garden investment is to improve the soil with good organic matter.

Your garden should make you happy and it should be for no one else.

For new gardeners, Weathington emphasizes that the destruction of plants is only part of gardening; the only failure is to give up. “After all,” he said, “gardening is the slowest of the performing arts, and death is just one part of the whole process going on.

The arboretum’s popular annual spring plant sales also increased in 2020. “There was a lot of excitement and interest in hard-to-obtain crops this year,” Weathington said. “Nurseries around the state have reported the same thing. This year was a record year for many of them. ”

A woman and a child walk through the gardens of the JC Raulston Arboretum
The JC Raulston Arboretum

To learn more about gardening, Weathington suggests joining one of the arboretum’s many educational programs, such as Gardening in the South, designed for new gardeners in North Carolina, or Gardening Basics with Bryce Lane. The Arboretum also has a robust and diverse YouTube channel.

Finally, Weathington says, “Often we just have to get our hands dirty and experiment.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.