Coronavirus panic buying takes root at nurseries selling fruit and vegetable plants and seeds


By Tony Briscoe and Rachel Carbonell, Tas Country Hour (AU)

ABC News Australia - Mar 23, 2020


First it was the panic buying of toilet rolls, then staples like rice, pasta and meat now it's spread to the nursery industry as demand for edible plants and seeds heats up due to coronavirus.


Andrew Clarke runs a nursery south of Hobart and said he had never seen anything like the past few days in 30 years of selling, growing and advising about plants.


"The seedling area and vegetables have been completely depleted over the weekend and we've sold in a week what we typically sell over a month," he said.


"We're in constant contact with nurseries across Australia, and the increased demand for edibles is both Australia and New Zealand-wide."


A lot of people who bought plants at the nursery were not your typical core gardeners who had been growing vegetables, herbs and fruit trees for years.


"It's been really good to see beginner gardeners interested in growing edibles and self-sustainable gardening, and we've been helping with advice on what type of vegetables will grow at this time of year," Mr Clarke said.


"The run on plants will mean there could be some restrictions over the next week or two while we wait for fresh supplies from the wholesalers."


Michael Alderman went to a nursery in Melbourne's inner-north at the weekend to buy vegetable seedlings, but they were sold out so he bought a bunch of seeds.


While he was a regular backyard gardener, he said the coronavirus situation had motivated him to get on with his autumn gardening plans.


"We have the panic buying and the isolation in mind as well; the lack of vegetables and supplies in the stores is definitely in our heads," he said.


Claire Loughnan is another keen gardener who found the vegetable seedlings sold out when she went to her local nursery in Melbourne...