Spring Countdown Begins
March 20th, the official arrival of spring will be here before we know it.
Those couple warm days over last weekend were a welcome surprise. As of writing today, more normal weather returns. It must be March in Ohio. Hot one day, rain and cold the next. We never get used to it!
On the positive side, Covid 19 seems to becoming more under control. Masks mandates are slowly being eliminated as hospital admission decline. What a crazy two years we have experienced!
The world is still playing catch up as demand continues to outweigh supply. As inflation continues to rise, some products seem they have no ceiling.
Combine that with the unrest occurring in Russia and Ukraine, who knows what will happen? Fuel prices are rising, which will cause transportation services to charge more. Russia provides 17% of the worlds nitrogen supply as well as supplying phosphorous and potash. With sanctions in place, plan on paying more for certain products.
Here are my predictions for 2022.
Gardening will continue to be strong as more and more people continue to plant and grow some of their own produce. Fruit trees and bushes will be in high demand. Many companies are streamlining there product selection and making their most popular products and forgoing producing other “not as popular” products. You may not find that item you have used for years.
Labor, or lack there of, from factory workers, and everyone that has a part in anything of the supply chain, inflation, gas pricing, the war in Ukraine, remnants of covid, will push prices upward.
In our industry, peat moss is in really short supply. Peat moss is THE staple product in mixes we use to grow our plants. Last weeks email regarding our shipments for 2023 of peat and soil mixes was an updated surcharge of $1700 per load. Yikes! This is before the price of fuel began to skyrocket so I am expecting that to be pushed even higher.
Companies are scrambling for alternate materials to replace peat moss. They say necessity is the mother of invention so get ready.
The other horror story we heard is about the incredible shortage of plastic pots, flats, hanging baskets, containers for bushes, basically anything that holds soil. Some companies are leaving growers high and dry and NOT shipping there orders. They basically saying we can’t supply you. Sorry! Can you imagine not having any stock to grow your plants in? I remember my parents when they first started saying something about wrapping plants in newspaper and selling them that way? Could this method return? Don’t be surprised, it may happen.
Chinese made products are STILL on that slow boat. Container shipping charges are still 3-10 times higher than “normal” pricing pre-pandemic. Who knows when or if importers will ever get caught up?
Our family business has survived a fire which burnt our store to the ground, a tornado which ripped our roof off right as our season was beginning, a road closure which I can honestly say was worse than the two aforementioned disasters as well as a pandemic.
Shopping local at my store or any other small businesses is so important to our survival. Prices will be up this year! They may also change from week to week. I think I speak for all small business owners, we are not price gouging, we are just trying to survive.
My advice to all my readers, the handwriting is on the wall, its going to be another crazy year. If you see it, buy it! If you think you will need 2 of them, get it while you can. I have a lot of products ordered from back in April and May of last year which still has not arrived! I always tell the drivers who bring our products, we appreciate seeing them. They are just like Santa. Every delivery is like Christmas! You don’t know what you are getting but are glad to receive it!
Now that I have you feeling anxious, here is the good news. Our staff has been transplanting like crazy, the scent of spring, (Aka Dirt) is in the air, Our nursery is beginning to receive trucks of nursery stock. The days are getting longer. Dare I say the days are getting warmer. My bulbs are popping out of the ground! Pansies and violas are being offered for sale. The store smells like fertilizer, (not a great smell), but thats an indication of spring.
More and more friends are starting to visit us and getting fertilizers to feed their plants. Crabgrass preventers time is upon us. Dormant oils and copper sprays are selling for those to spray their fruit trees while they are still dormant to start fresh without insects or diseases. Grass seed is being sown. Seeds are selling for gardens.
Houseplants are going crazy. We honestly have had new clients travel from Michigan, Pennsylvania, all points of Ohio from Athens to Toledo to shop and buy our plants. Houseplants are a great addition to the home and a prequel to Spring.
As for nursery stock, things are still pretty slim out there, if you didn't order early, forget it. Nurseries had a great year again which did not end till December last year and they sold tons of plants. Plan on paying a little more this year for unique things and plants maybe a little smaller than usual as quite literally, nurseries can not grow things fast enough. The good news is we will be fully stocked by mid April.
So in closing, get outside, trim your plants on a sunny day, get the yard cleaned up, pull that extra mulch off of the perennials, add compost to your garden, get your early sprays started on plants you had problems with last year. Plant your potatoes, onion sets and plants. Start sowing some seeds for the garden. Throw some fertilizer down around your plants, plant some pansies for color now. Take a deep breath, enjoy the days that are ahead. Be glad we are all still here and pray for world peace.
Thanks for Reading, Think Spring!
J.R. Pandy "The No B.S. Gardener"