Dipti Singh

Social distancing and shutdown steps adopted by the government in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic have forced us to reconsider our regular interactions. Yet it’s not all doom and gloom, as positives can also be found! Despite the global uncertainty of the Coronavirus, one industry is witnessing benefits flowing.

The horticultural sector in Australia is experiencing a boom as people seek to get their hands on good, locally grown food. Research discloses that almost 52% of all Australians are growing food in their garden. In other words, 4.7 million households are growing vegetables with their own hands and yielding some sustenance for their kitchens. During the ongoing COVID-19 health scare, there’s been a robust boom in home gardening as people are devoting more time in their garden spaces.

Due to concerns about food shortages associated with Coronavirus, seed companies are seeing enormous increases in demand. Empty store shelves have contributed to a rush for seed supplies as people being planting fruits and vegetables in their homes and backyards. Suppliers claim that some gardeners tend to stockpile plants and seeds in order to grow anything or everything anticipating shortage in supply. Recent major sales of vegetable seeds and fruit plants have been through outdoor retailers such as Bunnings. Garden centres, considered vital facilities in most states, have relocated their supplies online or begun providing a curb side collection of vegetable seeds, soils and transplants. After being flooded with orders 10 times higher than usual, some seed suppliers in New Zealand and Australia have pressed pause on trade.

King Seeds, the country’s largest seed supplier, briefly halted online ordering after having seen its normal business demand grow by 10 times over. Greenlife, a nursery industry body, said plant suppliers around the country are now hastily moving their businesses online so they can continue supplying gardeners during the coronavirus crisis. The Diggers Club, one of the major gardening clubs and seed catalogues in Australia, has suspended new plant orders because of ‘unprecedented demand.’

Online, gardening community memberships have boomed, with people sharing lockdown ideas about knitting weeds into baskets, sowing strawberry seeds scooped out of shop-bought strawberries and cultivating new roots for supermarket-bought leeks and lettuces.