Chuck McNally carries flats of kale seedlings at Donna’s Greenhouses in New Gloucester on Monday. “People have time on their hands. Everyone wants to garden,” the co-owner of the greenhouses said. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Whether out of a cure for feeling blue or scratching the itch on a green thumb, people staying at home have seemingly started doing more outdoor projects. 

“I think people are home and they’re bored. What better else to do than hang out outside and plant some trees and shrubs,” said Tyler Gammon of Gammon’s Garden Center in Auburn. 

Gammon said his business is “swamped.” And he’s not the only one. 

“The greenhouse business is busy,” said Chuck McNally of Donna’s Greenhouses in New Gloucester, who runs the business with his wife, Donna. “Way ahead of last year … I know we are ahead because we have empty greenhouses.” 

“I keep telling people that we won’t run out of vegetable seedlings. I may be wrong,” he added. 

Gammon said he’s seen an increase in sales of vegetables and fruit-bearing plants as well. 

“I think because they’re wondering how sanitary it is at the store,” he said. 

Gammon’s had to hire extra workers this year to make sure the garden center could keep up with its own cleanliness during the coronavirus pandemic. 

“It took us a little bit more time to do each sale because we’re trying to keep everything clean, gloving up, wearing masks, stuff like that,” Gammon said. The large acreage of the garden center lets the business allow in a maximum capacity of customers that it hasn’t reached yet, he said. But they’re still “as busy or busier than we’ve ever been.” 

Gammon said the shipping and delivery service his business runs has “gone up a lot” as well. 

More people staying at home may have hurt the spring cleanup business for Fresh Start Landscape of Auburn, but owner Matt Dumont said he’s “super busy” on other projects that people are hiring him for. 

Matt Dumont of Fresh Start Landscape in Auburn works on a patio for an Auburn homeowner Monday. Dumont said business has been “super busy.” Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Dumont said he got worried about his business being affected by the state’s stay-at-home order as time got close for him to start his work for the season, but the Maine Landscape and Nursery Association made it clear that businesses like his were deemed essential. 

“So right from the get-go I started getting busy,” he said. 

“I have lost a few of my last year’s customers, as far as spring cleanups go, and that’s because they were staying home, they got bored, and they just did it themselves,” he added. “Instead it was right to patios, walkways, filled in a pool. I had done some cleanups. Mowing, mowing has taken off. I got a lot of new customers for mowing. There’s mulch. It’s just, everyone wants something.” 

Watson Lawn Care of Lewiston has had a tight schedule, according to a message from the business’s Facebook page. 

“It’s business as usual for us,” according to the message. 

Dumont said he’s heard from his material vendors that they also are seeing an increase in business. 

“I think people are just home alone and they’re looking at their yard a lot because they’re home,” Dumont said. “… I think they just want to get projects done.” 

McNally also chalked up the increase in business to people having more time on their hands, and that they’re turning to gardening with that extra time.

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