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Rob Haralson, garden center manager at Green Oak Nursery, holds a tomato plant. He was expecting another shipment of vegetable plants Tuesday or Wednesday. Photo by Jack Weatherly

Homeowners turning to gardening during lock-down

By JACK WEATHERLY

‘Dig into the soil, delve into the soul.’

– Ray Bradbury

‘Dandelion Wine’

Mississippians stuck at home during the corona virus lock-down are turning to gardening for food and therapy.

Plant nurseries across the metro Jackson area are reporting record sales in some cases.

Business has increased exponentially,” said Graham Neeld, assistant manager at Madison Garden Center.

Digging into the earth and planting is “good for mental health and a boost to the immune system,” Neeld said.

He said the Vitamin D from sunshine is especially good for older people.

The nursery at 811 Madison Ave. is seeing “a lot of first-time vegetable gardeners. We are working hard to keep things in stock.” The nursery is offering curbside service and free delivery for purchases of $100 or more, Neeld said.

Maur McKie, owner of Green Oak Nursery, said sales of vegetable plants are “really taking off. We’ve had to reorder several times.”

Overall, McKie (pronounced mackie) said, business is a “mixed bag” for what he called “pretty diversified” enterprise, including “interior scaping,” tending to plants in malls and banks, which he says has suffered because of the statewide lock-down.

He said he had to lay off six to eight workers and has about 28 now, some of whom are doing “double jobs” at the nursery at 5009 Old Canton Rd. in Jackson.

McKie buys his vegetable plants from Standing Pine Nursery in Hinds between Raymond and Terry in Hinds County.

This is the most vegetables that we’ve sold in years,” said Dody Ogletree, who, along with her husband, Jody Ogletree, owns Standing Pine. Dody Ogletree says there are a “lot of first-time gardeners.”

We are very low on [vegetable plants] right now,” she said.

Jody Ogletree said sales of veggie plants has been “crazy,” unprecedented for Standing Pine.

Steve Zischke, owner of Lakeland Lawn and Garden in Flowood, said, his business has likewise done a lot of vegetable plant sales, with a spike in March.

Sales have leveled off in April, said Zischke (pronounced ziskie), adding that he has to lay off many older members of his sales staff because of their vulnerability to the virus.

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About Jack Weatherly