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Maine garden centers see surge in seed sales

WMTW Portland ME logo WMTW Portland ME 4/20/2020
a book sitting on top of a table: seeds © Provided by WMTW Portland ME seeds

With so many Mainers at home due to the coronavirus, many garden centers are seeing a surge in seed sales.

“Seed sales are through the roof. We have never seen the sale of seeds like this. I mean everyone seems to want to grow their own food this year,” Tom Estabrook, of Estabrook’s Garden Center, said.

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Estabrook’s is selling in one week the number of seed packets they would typically sell in a season.

“I think we are seeing a resurgence in new gardeners for sure. If there's one thing that is precious in this whole scenario is that we are having more time with our families, so seed starting is a great way to start out with the kids to get them growing something,” Estabrook said.

Broadway Gardens in South Portland is seeing a similar trend.

“We've been selling a lot of the seed starter soil and all the trays and the domes and the plug trays that go with it,” owner Phil Roberts said.

Roberts and Estabrook said they have had to change how they sell to customers, which includes curbside pickup, delivery and creating special hours for older Mainers.

“We are seeing a lot of older people come into the store, surprisingly. We've been doing a special on Wednesdays 8 to 10:30. We've been only allowing 60's and over in to our store and greenhouses,” Roberts said.

The spike in interest in gardening also means it might be harder to find some items.

“We are going to be in a situation like Hannaford to go in May. Anything you can do about stockpiling your garden, it's a good idea to be getting your orders in,” Estabrook said.

Estabrook and Roberts said it is important to know what to seed and when to do it.

Seeds that can be picked up now include beets, radishes, cucumbers, arugula and carrots to name a few.

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