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Pandemic gardening trend plants the seed for a growing business

A growing number of people in New Brunswick are planting vegetable gardens amid the pandemic and the trend has planted the seed for a new woodworking business in Moncton.

Scott Johnson, owner of Fifth and Tenth Furniture in Moncton, said he will be the first to admit that he’s never really been a handy guy.

“A year and a half ago I would say I didn’t own a single tool,” said Johnson, which is why his friends and family are still shocked by the business he’s managed to grow this past year.

After seeing more people taking up vegetable gardening at the start of the pandemic, he decided to pick up some wood and try making a few garden boxes for himself.

“I built some for myself and then I was like, wow, there is a huge demand for this,” he said.

Johnson said he decided to buy a little extra wood to try selling a few garden boxes on the side. He said he had a full-time job for the federal government so this was supposed to be just for fun, but his business unexpectedly started growing like a weed.

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“I took a one-year leave of absence to do this and it has been going so well,” he said.

He’s even managed to expand his business into making furniture and has hired a full-time employee, said Johnson, who is even busier this year than he was last.

“At first (gardening) was kind of like a necessity; maybe they thought there was going to be a shortage of food supply. Now I think it is more of a hobby,” said Johnson.

There has also seen a huge spike in vegetable seed sales at MacArthur’s Nurseries in Moncton.

“Our seed sales were probably close to double what they were the year before and this year they are probably going to triple,” said manager Tony Deluca.

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Johnson hopes the trend will continue even after the vaccine rollout is complete.

“I guess you’ve got to find the silver lining in everything and obviously COVID has been horrible for everyone but there are some businesses like myself that are thriving,” he said.

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