Planning for 2021: Back to Basics

Even the best planner could never have predicted how the 2020 growing season was going to develop. Lockdowns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the normal growing season, causing many growers to abruptly pull back on planting mid-season. Then, a strong surge in demand took the industry by surprise as millions of stay-at-home families decided to try gardening, some for the first time. This caused many growers and retailers to scramble to find plant material.

These surprising events had many wondering how to best plan for next year. Some in the industry are predicting an extended boom of demand, while others think this year is an outlier. Since planning for any growing season is essentially predicting the future, experienced growers tend to rely on tried-and-true planning basics to develop viable production plans. 

What’s an ‘average’ year?

“We’re always at the whim of the weather,” says Dennis Crum, Director of Growing Operations at Four Star. “Everyone wants a sunny, warm spring, but we often get a slow start, especially in the north. Someone told me long ago to plan for an ‘average’ growing year. By doing so, you will be correct nine years out of 10.”

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