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Panic buying at Aussie nurseries selling fruit and vegetable plants and seeds

After the panic buying of toilet rolls, rice, pasta and meat, it seems to have spread to the nursery industry. 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. Consumers are certainly showing more interest in self-sufficient gardening, and they're also looking at projects to keep them busy if there are further lockdown regulations. 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," 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."

New South Wales
In the Riverina region of New South Wales, one nursery said it had sold out of vegetables and in recent days had sold more seed packets than it normally would in a year. Meanwhile, fifth-generation Bendigo nurseryman Lee McDonald said the past couple of days at work had been "unprecedented".

"We're down to four punnets of onions and about 10 punnets of radicchio, and that's about it for the vegetables — the packets of seeds have just disappeared off the shelves," he told abc.net.au.


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