Here's a list of garden centers still operating under the stay-at-home ordinances. Photo by Andrea Ridout.
April 2, 2020
For quite awhile I have been wishing that I had more time to garden. Well, my wish has come true but for a reason that I never expected - a global pandemic. Since we’re all in the same boat for the next several weeks at least, why not make the most of the self isolation by creating the garden of your dreams?
As of this writing, garden centers, hardware stores and home centers are considered “essential businesses” in Dallas County during the coronavirus “stay at home” ordinance and they are fully stocked with plants and gardening supplies. (Check your county website for current rules - here’s Dallas, Tarrant and Denton counties.)
Gardening can be fun, a way to produce your own food and connect with nature. As you shop for gardening supplies, keep in mind that every store that is open is there because they are considered essential. As one of my neighbors mentioned on Nextdoor, “Go in, get what you need and leave.”
(See more tips for staying safe at the end of the article.)
Joyce Connelley takes a selfie recently at Marshall Grain.
MARSHALL GRAIN, GRAPEVINE
Joyce Connelley with Marshall Grain in Grapevine is seeing a huge surge in edibles as well as raised bed mix, fertilizers and four-inch pots of transplants.
“We’re bringing in as many vegetables as we can,” Connelley reports. “Tomatoes, peppers and especially okra are flying out the door. The weather has been gorgeous and people are working from home so it’s a great opportunity for them to start a garden.”
All four-inch vegetable plants are $1.89. Nortex Certified Organic Herbs are $2.89 for four-inch plants.
One of the resident cats chilling out at Weston Gardens in Fort Worth. Photo by Candy Halliburton.
WESTON GARDENS, FORT WORTH
For over 35 years, Weston Gardens has been known for their expansive collection of native and drought-tolerant plants and loads of good advice.
“A lot of people right now are really stressed out,” said Sue Weston. “So gardening is a good way to socially distance, raise your own food and get some sunshine.”
She notes that about one-third of vegetables in urban areas in the U.S. are raised in home gardens.
Like many stores both large and small, Weston’s is taking extra steps to keep everyone safe.
“We’re set up for outside plant sales and have extra stations for customers and staff to sanitize carts and wagons,” said Weston.
They are also receiving plant shipments daily and have fully stocked seed racks as well as select seeds by the ounce or pound.
Eco Blossom is an online garden store, founded by Fort Worth landscape designer Anna Hurst, that sells native and adapted plants and some organic garden products. Hurst started the business as an offshoot of her landscaping service, Happy Gardens, which has offered design, installation and maintenance of eco-friendly landscaping since 2008. Minimum order $75.
Organic strawberries are still available for picking at Storm Farms. Photo by J.G. Domke.
STORM FARMS, ARLINGTON
If you want to see an organic farm in action to get you in the mood for gardening, Storm Farms, the pick-your-own farm in Arlington, still has ripe strawberries ready for picking at $8/lb.
“It’s been slower than normal. But we’re still seeing a steady stream of people,” said staffer Madelynn Bolton. “Lots of families with kids getting out of the house.”
Read recent GSDFW article about Storm Farms.
NORTH HAVEN GARDENS, DALLAS
Since 1951, North Haven Gardens in Dallas has been offering quality plants, amendments and gardening tools to folks all over the Metroplex.
Passion flower at North Haven Gardens. Courtesy of Facebook.
Last fall, the store was heavily damaged in the tornado that swept through north Dallas but they reopened after just four weeks. Staffer Sandi Holmes-Schwedler, senior buyer for the store, credits their rebirth to the loyal following from both home gardeners and professional landscapers, many of whom helped to clean up after the storm.
She reports that their shelves are stocked and staffers are ready and waiting to help customers with their gardening needs.
ROACH FEED AND SEED, GARLAND
Tree Rose. Courtesy of Roach Feed and Seed.
Just off the square in downtown Garland, historic Roach Feed and Seed has plenty of both plants and seeds. You can either shop in person, or they will bring your phone order to the curb for you.
"It's a great time to grow your own healthy vegetables,” says owner Shana Carter.
Roach also has strawberry plants for $1.59 plus several varieties of roses have just arrived starting at $12.99. The variety in the photo is a Tree Rose for $27.99. Roach is also receiving weekly shipments of baby chicks though Shana notes that they sell out quickly. While you’re at Roach, pick up some chicken feed and pet food from their wide assortment of brands.
ROOSTER HOME & HARDWARE, DALLAS
Store mascot George the Rooster takes time for a photo op. Photo by Andrea Ridout.
Rooster Home & Hardware in Lake Highlands is also selling chicks and you can visit George the Rooster when you drop by. Like most local stores, they have put several measures into place to ensure the health and safety of customers such as extra washing of surfaces, gloves on staffers, and signage.
Their outdoor plant shelves as well as organic fertilizers are fully stocked. Check out their bee-keeping and bird-feeding supplies while you are there.
Manager Mark Serino has seen a steady stream of customers who are starting their first gardens and is encouraged by their upbeat attitude while keeping a safe distance from each other. Curbside pickups are also available for call-in orders.
RESTORATIVE FARMS, DALLAS
Planted GroBox. Courtesy of Restorative Farms.
If you want to plant your own Victory garden, Restorative Farms near Fair Park in Dallas has created the GroBox garden kit, complete with premium organic growing medium and vegetable seedlings from The Seedling Farm at the MLK Freedom Garden.
For $110 plus delivery fee, the GroBox is a terrific deal, especially for beginning gardeners and each box can be tailored to your specific interests. Just let the folks at Restorative Farms know what types of plants that you want when you place your order and they will help you select from their large variety.
“Every GroBox purchased helps fund another GroBox placed in the community in the middle of a food desert,” said Restorative Farms co-founder Brad Boa.
He also notes that you have the option of sponsoring a GroBox for someone who might not be able to afford one. What a great gift idea during these uncertain times. Wonderful for kids with an educational aspect as well.
Gardenuity is another place to find all-in-one starter garden kits.
The Culinary Herb Garden Kit comes with plants and custom nutrients.
Upscale and trendy but lots of fun, Gardenuity offers a variety of container gardens for $72 each (including shipping) such as their popular Culinary Herb Garden or Cocktail Herb Garden. There’s even a Taco Toppings Garden, which would be fun for kids or adults.
Their unique Gardenuity Match is like a dating service for people and plants. They customize your garden kit based on your location, water pH, and other factors to give you the best experience.
“As people are hunkering down and nesting, they are looking for something to do,” said Doug Platts, Chief Operating Officer. “The experience of gardening is just as beneficial as the food. Get a little dirty!”
After your purchase, the Gardenuity’s GrowPro advice is for new plant parents “with timely emails that tell you what to do at various stages in each plant’s growth." They’ll even let you know when bad weather is on its way as well as other tips to help you be successful and a great grower. Companies and schools can tailor the gardens for clients, students and gifts.
SEND OUT FOR SEEDS
If you don’t have enough outdoor space to garden, why not grow some microgreens? Botanical Interests seed company in Boulder, Colorado offers some tips to help you get started.
“Microgreens and baby greens are not just for chef-inspired plates anymore - these nutrient powerhouses can grow right on your windowsill,” says their website. Click here to read their full article.
Another option for microgreens is the Hamama, a small countertop unit that we featured in an article back in January. I personally tested the Hamama and found it very easy to use. I was able to grow fresh sprouts in 5 days and they were absolutely delicious on my sandwiches and in salads.
BIG BOX STORES
On April 6, Lowes is inviting do-it-yourselfers to join the company in creating expressions of gratitude to frontline heroes working everyday to support our communities during this challenging time.
“We’re encouraging those interested to create a DIY thank you message using objects and materials that can be found around the house - from holiday string lights strung across the porch to painted banners ,” Marisa Thalberg, Lowe’s executive vice president chief brand and marketing officer, shares. “To the medical professionals, health care workers, our own more than 300,000 associates, and all essential retail workers, this is a way we can say thank you for all you are doing right now.”
The sign at Storm Farms in Arlington was put in place before the current health crisis. Photo by J.G. Domke.
Here are a few more shopping tips to avoid pathogen exposure and spreading:
•Check store hours before you make a trip. Call rather than look online as websites and social media may not be up to date.
• Make trips as infrequently and as quickly as possible.
• Shop alone if possible. Do not take any unnecessary family members.
• DO NOT go shopping if you or a family member is ill or showing any symptoms.
• Wear a mask and gloves and carry sanitary wipes or hand sanitizer with you to wipe down products and surfaces as you shop.
• Do not touch anything that you don’t intend to buy.
• If the store allows, bring your own bags and place products into them as you shop which allows you to avoid touching shopping cart any more than necessary.
• Consider letting all products sit for three days after purchase to allow any surface virus to disseminate.
• Sunlight exposure is thought to help to sanitize items.
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