March, April and May are normally the largest-selling months of the year for Dig It Gardens owners Jessica and Ryan Jerrell.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, spring was anything but fruitful.
“No one would have expected what we’re currently going through in the climate for the coronavirus,” Jessica says. “You can never be certain, especially when you own your own business.”
The couple took matters into their own hands and is continuing to offer customers the ability to grow their own food. Patrons can book a half-hour time slot to explore the family-owned urban garden uninterrupted and purchase items to start or continue growing a garden. Online registration is required as well as a $25 minimum purchase.
“We’ve had to be like every other small business and think of how we can sustain ourselves to the best of our ability during this time,” Jerrell says. “Our general manager, Alex Washburn, has had a critical role in ramping up the new business model with my husband.
“We have everything sanitized for the produce garden carts, and customers have a different device to use when they check out. We’re wearing masks and gloves ourselves.”
After every customer leaves, the staff sanitizes the garden and makes sure it is ready to go for when the next appointment shows up.
Customers are also able to order online, call in or email to have an order scheduled for curbside pickup.
“We’re seeing a shift in the marketplace because people are spending more time at home and looking at where their food source comes from,” Jerrell says. “We’ve seen an affinity for how you can grow at home.”
The top sellers at Dig It are vegetables and herbs along with mulch and fertilizer. Jerrell loves to grow thyme and basil in her home garden because she cooks with them daily.
Dig It offers veggies and herbs, ranging from eggplants and peppers to three kinds of mint and varieties of lavender. Veggies start at $4 and herbs are $5.
Newbies can buy a vegetable gardener starter kit that includes potting soil, fertilizer, four herbs and four veggies chosen by the staff for $54.95.
“There is no such thing (as having a green thumb),” Jerrell says. “You can learn any skill.”
Jerrell hopes the outpouring of support for the neighboring communities continues. When the pandemic subsides, she hopes the garden can once again host events and workshops and be a source of relief.
“People came together, loved their plants and saw Dig It as kind of an oasis within the city that you can just get away,” Jerrell says. “We hope to provide that positive mental attitude when you walk in.”
Dig It Gardens, 3015 N. 16th Street, Phoenix, 602.812.7476, email@example.com, digphx.com.