It is close to the end of March and I am starting to plan the gardening season. We had frost last night and will have more tonight and I am planning to get my peas in the ground in two days when it is a bit warmer again. I also started seedlings yesterday with my daughter. So far, so normal. However, the schools here in Boston have been closed for a week now because of Covid-19. The governor declared a state of emergency five days ago, restaurants are closed or do take-out only, people are encouraged to work from home, grocery stores now only allow a certain number of shoppers inside. The world is a very different place than just a week ago. Everyone is asked to stay home, which is hard for my two teenagers. My 17 year-old daughter copes with exercising, reading and asking me to teach her how to bake bread and how to grow your own food (she never showed much interest in gardening), and become more self-sufficient. So, we started by sowing seeds. For now, we started two types of lettuce (Bronze Beauty and Kagran Summer), eggplant (Ping Tung), Thai hot pepper (should have started those about a month ago, but alas), flat parsley (should also have been started earlier), basil, four types of tomato (Break O’ Day, Dr. Wychee Yellow, Green Zebra, Eva Purple Ball). We set them up under grow lights and with a heat mat in my bedroom.
We will need to adjust our community garden season as well. We will of course not have our annual spring meeting or our spring work day this year. We will need to think about disinfecting shared gardening tools and other surfaces.
So far, gardening has not been restricted by the city or the state, but should there be a “shelter in place” order in the future, we will likely not be able to tend to our plots. On the other hand, growing some of your own food will be more important this year than ever. The borders are shutting down, and migrant workers who pick most of our produce will not be able to enter the country and we will likely experience some sort of food shortage.
I will try to move as much as I can to container gardening at home, as this seems a feasible and safe option. For now, I am planning to grow herbs, tomatoes, lettuce, kale, chard, eggplant, hot peppers.