Vegetable seeds and seedlings are in high demand at nurseries around Ballarat and panic buying plants is boosting sales at family-owned businesses.
Avalon Nursery is nearly sold out and suppliers who have been inundated by the demand are also low on stock, owner David Winters said.
Formosa Gardens owner Katie Wright said customers were stocking up on plants, particularly vegetable and herb seeds and seedlings, so they had gardening projects prepared if they were forced to stay at home.
"We do have a lot of clientele who are into gardening every day of the year, but this is the ideal time to be teaching the younger generations where food actually comes from - that it all starts in farms and garden beds and not on the shelf," she said.
"It is a really good life skill to know how to grow your own vegetables."
Ms Wright said gardening was fantastic for mental health, which would be important during this challenging time.
"Everyone is under the pump in all industries. We encourage everyone to be kind, everyone is doing the best they can do," she said.
"Kindness is always the key and gardening is the best medicine. It is really good for your mental health."
This is the ideal time to be teaching the younger generations where food actually comes from - that it all starts in farms and garden beds and not on the shelf.Katie Wright, Formosa Gardens
Food Is Free founder Lou Ridsdale said Food Is Free would continue to focus on food security education and will ramp up advice and guidance on gardening during this time.
"With social distancing and potential lockdown on our doorstep along with school holidays, gardening is a great activity to do together," she said.
"Gardening really takes you out of your head if you are anxious about the future, and is a great release from impending unknown outcomes of the coronavirus spread and other present confronting world issues.
"It grounds you, will calm you to know you have food in your yard given supplies have been compromised at the supermarket lately, and putting your hands in soil actually triggers the release of serotonin in your brain to ward off depression."
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Ms Wright and Ms Ridsdale said there was plenty to do in the garden in autumn, including tidying up mulch and weed, planting vegetables like broccoli and cabbage, planting flowering bulbs and garlic.
"Whilst we know it's not possible for all people, particularly those without a backyard as well as other limitations, we do encourage those in our community who can to utterly wrap their arms around gardening," Ms Ridsdale said.
"Even if it means popping some parsley in a pot at your doorstep or simply growing some indoor plants inside for increased well-being."
Visit the Food Is Free Laneway site on the corner of Ripon Street South and Warrior Place or the Green Space which is a short walk away for inspiration and resources.
You can follow the Food Is Free Facebook page, or look online at John 'Ditchy' Ditchburns' Urban Food Garden, Mara Ripani's Village Dreaming and Milkwood Permaculture and other resources for information.
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