As more and more Kansans face furlough or are working from home, they are getting restless and heading to nurseries for supplies.
“We’ve had quite a run over the weekend,” said Mike Ward, owner of Ward’s Garden Center in Garden City. “I felt like potting soil was almost like toilet paper, we’re running out of it so fast.”
Other nurseries around the state are seeing the uptick in customers.
“We are twice as busy as usual,” said Jarrod Bornholdt, manager of Bornholdt Plantland in Hutchinson. “Many are new to gardening.”
Bornholdt’s most popular items are onions, fertilizer and weed killer.
“People come out and say they want to plant a garden, but they don’t know how,” he said.
Nurseries across the state remain open and are happy to explain gardening basics.
Ward said hearty plants are ready to put in the ground now. Some of these include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, strawberries, potatoes, garlic and onions. Lettuce and peas are just about ready as well.
As for the tomatoes and peppers, Bornholt suggests you wait a few weeks.
“Let professionals like us babysit them until it’s time to plant them outside,” he said.
Lori Riedel, the owner of Riedel Garden Center in Hays, said people are buying asparagus, rhubarb and especially onions, but she noticed they are asking more questions than they usually do.
Some plants, such as crabgrass, remain unwelcome.
The best time to get rid of crabgrass is mid to late April in northern Kansas and early April for southern Kansas, said Ward Upham, a K-State Research and Extension specialist in horticulture.
“For most of Kansas, crabgrass typically begins to germinate around May 1 or a little later,” Upham said in a release. “April 15 is normally a good target date for applying preventer for most of Kansas because it gives active ingredients time to evenly disperse in the soil before crabgrass germination starts.”
Crabgrass preventers prevent the plant from emerging, but usually have no effect on existing crabgrass.
Most crabgrass preventers are ineffective after 60 days, Upham noted, so applying the product at the right time is important.
“You can base timing of your application on the bloom of ornamental plants, such as the Eastern Redbud tree,” Upham said. “When the trees in your area reach full bloom, apply crabgrass preventer. This practice is better than using a calendar date as it compensates for location and whether we have an early spring.”
Depending on the product used, a follow-up application may be needed. Upman recommends crabgrass preventers be applied before fertilizer so that the grass is not encouraged to put on too much growth too early.
In addition to selling fertilizers, insecticides, seeds, trees and vegetables, Ward’s Garden Center in Garden City sells pet food and small pets. But, he said, it is the nursery that is booming.
“People are wanting to know what they can do since the coronavirus outbreak,” Riedel said. “What they can do in their yards to keep their mind off of the virus.”