Now I know what you're thinking, but what you are thinking of is not the oldest profession. The oldest recorded profession is that of the gardener. Many may argue that fact but in the beginning there …
Now I know what you're thinking, but what you are thinking of is not the oldest profession. The oldest recorded profession is that of the gardener. Many may argue that fact but in the beginning there was Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, it says so right in the Bible.
And as anyone who has ever had a garden in the past knows, gardens need daily tending too, therefore, Adam and Eve were the first gardeners. Since they were also the only two at the time, that other profession wasn't even around yet. Getting back to gardening, at the end of 2020, we were being asked almost weekly to fill out one survey after another by gardening organizations, retail trade groups and countless others all wanting to know how the gardening season was for us in 2020 and what did we expect in 2021.
This information then gets passed on to the growers and supply companies so that they can make planned changes to their inventories to meet supply chain demands. We too received the results of these multiple surveys over the course of the winter and the overall consensus around the country is that 2020 saw the largest increase in home gardening since World War II and the institution of the Victory Garden.
If you tried to get a garden together last year and found many shortages of products, you are not alone. Supply chain shortages accounted for seventy-five percent of the out of stock situations that most garden centers felt. Garden centers across the country were considered essential businesses and therefore allowed to remain open and supply homeowners essential goods and services for their spring planting needs.
However, many manufacturers of those planting supplies were shut down for being non-essential. Remember dairy farmers dumping milk last spring? It wasn't because there was no demand for their product but rather there were no containers to put the dairy products in because the container manufacturers were forced to shut down.
It is truly amazing that with the wealth of knowledge that this country possesses that no one could figure out if you shut down manufacturing that everything comes to a stand still. Luckily for garden centers, plant growers have to start in January and February growing seedlings that will supply the garden centers later in the spring.
So with no one paying attention to Covid that early in the year, since it was still limited to China and the Northwest, it was business as usual in the growing industry. But then in late March the shutdowns began and by mid April in our area many people moved North to get away from the population centers of New York and New Jersey.
By late April as people got bored at home and needed something to do, gardening became the hobby of choice. Gardening not only gave people something to do, but also provided fresh vegetables, something that many city cousins never really had unless they went to a farmer's market. When we filled out some of these surveys that we took, even we were surprised by just how much we were up in plant sales.
We knew we were busier in 2020 than 2019, but we never really looked at the percentages until we filled out the surveys. We were not an exception as most of the garden centers that replied to these surveys all reported the same results, the 2020 season was up almost six hundred percent (600%) compared to 2019.
Garden centers also expect 2021 to be as good or better than 2020, because even though there are still a lot of shortages out there, the supply chain has rebounded greatly from last year. Customers too have been preparing for spring much earlier this year compared to last.
We have been getting plants in earlier this year as we do not want growers to sell out of varieties before we have a chance to order them and likewise customers have been buying plants earlier as well even though they know that they can't plant them outside yet.
We did have some flurries yesterday and snow could fall almost any time during April, but customers are getting ready for another good growing season and they are stocking up early on essential supplies. As the supply chain continues to adjust to the new high demand, we should be able to stay fully stocked for a longer period of time this spring.
Now all we need is for mother nature to give us a nice spring so that everyone who wants to plant can have the time to do so.