October 27, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Ideas for growing your own pandemic garden

Beauty King Tomato, how to garden
A Beauty King Tomato I grew in my garden. It was about 3/4 of a pound. I’m hoping to get many more of these in my “pandemic garden” in 2020.

Are you doing your pandemic garden, even if it’s on a balcony or windowsill? How’s it going? If not, you might consider it as a source of both fresh produce and some peace from the COVID-19 stress.

The other day I went to one of my favorite nurseries here in the Sacramento area and it seemed like everyone had the same idea as the garden center was packed.

In fact, it was more than packed.

When I finally checked out there were 20 people in front of me in line. With of course the required 6-feet spacing we made a long snake of a line at least 100 feet back into the plants. I chatted with a garden center employee near the line and he said it had been “crazy busy” like this ever since the pandemic erupted.

It seems the COVID-19 pandemic has made people even more interested in gardening and sparked people with little-to-no experience to dive in and start a garden. Seed sales have exploded too.

During wars there have been victory gardens so maybe during this war on the novel coronavirus we have new “V gardens”, but this time V stands for virus or victory over viruses.

But exactly how to garden, especially during a pandemic? And not just kind of do it, but do it really successfully?

I’m not going to write a book of a blog post here, but you can see some of my past posts in my Scientist in The Garden series including these:

Yes, there are a lot of posts listed above about growing tomatoes. Clearly, they are my favorite. You can see a picture of one of my probable favorite types of tomatoes, Beauty King, from my garden above.tomato seedlings in my pandemic garden

So how can you successfully garden in the time of COVID-19? Dig into those bullet point gardening posts above for tomato tips as many of those apply to vegetable gardening in general.

The most important thing is just to go for it if you’ve got a patch of dirt or even a balcony or window (or a room where you can have grow lights).

Fortunately, you don’t even have to brave the nursery as I did. You can order potting soil, pots, and seeds online.

Some nurseries also have pick-up orders available.

I’ve also been using indoor gro-lights quite a bit and some plants do well indoors like lettuce. I did this as well to start all of my tomato seedlings this season as well. You can see some from back in March in the photo at right. They did pretty well, perhaps because I had a ton of gro-lights this time around.

If you can venture outdoors to do a garden, pick the sunniest spot you can, and maybe start with something robust like cherry tomatoes.

What are your recent garden adventures?