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While area residents are forced to shelter in place because of the Coronavirus pandemic, Mother Nature has offered a respite for those wishing to demonstrate their green thumbs. As the temperatures turn warmer, yard work, gardening, flower beds and landscaping offer an escape to many residents who have been forced out of work and to maintain social distancing standards.
“Over the past two months, there has been a lot of interest in gardening, more so than in the past,” said Jennifer Schutter, Field Specialist in Horticulture for the University of Missouri Extension in Kirksville. “Individuals have contacted MU Extension for advice in all areas of gardening such as lawns, fruits, vegetables, trees and shrubs, annual and perennial flowers, landscaping and disease and insect identification and control.”
While area residents have taken the time while indoors to beef up on their knowledge of such topics, they also have put it to work outdoors.
“Business has been much better than usual despite the virus,” said Lora Jean Garman of Memphis Mercantile, which has opened greenhouses at its new location in the former Shopko building on Highway 136. “I believe people are using plants as a way of getting outside and even possibly thinking of stocking freezers this fall.”
Schutter says the trend ranges from beginners to experienced
I spend most days answering lots of gardening questions from new and experienced gardeners. New gardeners are asking questions about soils, soil amending and vegetables they can plant and when they should plant them. Experienced gardeners are contacting us with pictures of plants they want identified, or they are seeking advice on landscaping or putting in native plant or butterfly gardens. I’ve even had a few shiitake mushroom questions and how to care for shiitake mushroom logs which has become more popular in recent years since I started doing mushroom production workshops in our region.