Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) President Carl Bednarski sent a formal request to Governor Whitmer on April 3rd to “ask for a reconsideration of retail garden centers to be included as essential infrastructure workers.” The original Stay Home, Stay Safe order deemed retail garden centers as non-essential though much of the food and agriculture sector was considered essential.
Retail garden centers and greenhouses around the state are brimming with stock including vegetable plants, and they are ready to begin selling them to customers. MFB’s horticulture specialist, Audrey Sebolt, said, “For many growers, if they’re not allowed to sell the plants already growing in greenhouses, it will mean a complete loss and an entire year without income for both the owners and their employees.” Ohio’s Governor, Mike DeWine, designated retail garden centers as essential on April 2nd.
Luke Marion, owner of MIgardener in Port Huron, agrees that retail garden centers should be considered essential. He is also a proponent of gardening from seed as much as possible. The biggest benefit of planting from seed is the cost. “Two to three plants from a garden center will cost $7 – $8,” said Marion. “You can purchase around 400 seeds for that price.” You can plant seeds in Michigan up to Labor Day, so there is still time to do some research and plan for a backyard garden. When asked about the easiest seeds to start with, Marion suggested, “Lettuce, spinach, and leafy greens are great! You can harvest them sooner, they are nutrient-dense, and they are more forgiving of soil deficiencies.”
Farm Bureau is asking members and agricultural stakeholders to contact Gov. Whitmer, urging her to issue a clarification to include the retail sale of plants as essential infrastructure. To contribute, click <HERE>
To learn more about starting a backyard gardening from MIgardener, click <HERE>
Reporting for WGRT – Jessie Wiegand