Empty shelves at the grocery store have inspired many shoppers to turn to gardening. But, some garden companies were caught off-guard by the surprise spike in interest for garden supplies and may be experiencing shortages as well. Whether you’re looking for materials for your first-ever pandemic garden or a seasoned gardener looking for your usual spring garden supplies, you can still find what you need to grow good food.
First, we suggest calling or emailing your local garden store—be patient, they likely have reduced hours and staffing and are dealing with many challenges. Even if their doors are closed right now, if they have seeds on the shelves, they’ll probably figure out a way to sell them to you and offer curbside pick-up, delivery, or shipping. This goes for all the gardening supplies listed below—although shipping heavier items might not be the best idea.
You can also look to small businesses that grow and sell seeds. The great thing about local seeds is that they’re likely more adapted to the weather, soils, and precipitation in your region. Buying local garden supplies helps small businesses in need during economically hard times, and these seeds will help your garden be more resistant to a changing climate and growing seasons.
You may not need to buy soil if you’re lucky enough to have a yard. If you’re unsure of the quality of your soil, you may want to amend with a rich compost. If you don’t already compost at home, get started now so you have soil later this season and for next year. If possible, find a local source of compost or soil; farms and garden centers may have these key garden supplies or know where you can find them locally.
In many states, hardware stores are still open, and these are a treasure trove of garden supplies. If you’re concerned about entering the store, consider calling ahead to see if they’ll offer curbside pickup for soil or any of the garden supplies mentioned here.
Soils can also be found at some larger supermarkets that have outdoor and gardening sections. Next time you’re grocery shopping, explore these aisles to see what they have.
Or support green businesses like Devine Gardens for rich vermicompost, delivered to your door.
Containers and Building Materials
If you’re growing indoors or starting seeds indoors to transplant outside when it’s warmer, look no farther than your recycling bin for gardening supplies. Old plastic yogurt containers and milk cartons make great planters.
Larger containers for porches and balconies can be repurposed from old buckets, mixing bowls, coolers, or anything that can withstand the weight of soil can be used. (We suggest doing a deep Pinterest DIY on repurposed garden containers). Anytime you’re repurposing something, don’t forget to poke holes in the bottom for drainage.
If you’re interested in building garden beds and find that the building kits are sold out, remember that you can garden in the ground without building up physical beds. But, if you feel that a built bed is the best option for your space, look for nontoxic lumber or repurposed wood that’s lived another life (as a fence, for example).
Some online sources like the Gardener’s Supply Company have all the container options you might need no matter where you’re planting.
First, we suggest looking through what you have. Many of us have old forgotten tools or items that can be repurposed for the garden. For small-scale gardening, you can even use large spoons from the kitchen.
If you need something more heavy duty, consider your local garden company, hardware store, ask local gardeners on social media, or consider tool share programs. Some small businesses like Green Heron Tools are still shipping garden supplies.
Looking for more gardening tips during the time of COVID-19? Check out our Climate Victory Gardening facebook group, where gardeners from all walks of life ask questions, share advice, and celebrate the successes of their fellow gardeners.