During the conditional movement control order (MCO), plant nurseries saw an increase in business with many people buying vegetable seeds and plants.
Nursery owners in Johor said the most popular were herbs such as curry leaves, cilantro, mint, rosemary, fruit bearing trees such as chillies and tomatoes, as well as seeds of leafy greens such as bok choy, spinach and mustard leaves.
Mohd Nor Abdul Talib, 55, who has been operating a nursery in Bandar Baru Uda for 11 years now said many new customers came to buy these items during the conditional phase.
“Besides the plants, they bought pots, soil and fertiliser as well.”
Redzuan Hanef, 24, who has a nursery next to Mohd Nor, said his business increased with many buying herbs to plant at home.
“Some even bought cempedak and mango saplings.
“The ones I sell are hybrids and grow only up to 213cm high. They can be grown in pots and are suitable for those with less land or space in their premises,” he said.
Hannah Ng, who runs a nursery in Taman Nusa Bestari with her brother, said long beans and Chinese leek seeds were popular among their customers.
“Before the MCO, our regular customers usually bought decorative plants and gardening tools but that changed during the conditional MCO.
“Now many are into planting fresh produce,” she said.
Among customers seen at a nursery was lecturer Suhaila Abdullah, 40.
She said she had been planting vegetables for as long as she could remember but noticed that more people were taking it up during the MCO.
“They must have realised the importance of growing their own vegetables to sustain themselves.
“During the initial phase of the MCO, there was panic buying, especially for food items.
“If we have vegetables growing in our garden, this will help us during difficult times,” said Suhaila.
“Some of my friends who found it a hassle to go to the market to get vegetables have also turned to planting their own.
“I believe this is a good hobby as it teaches discipline and requires one to be attentive and care for the plants,” she said, adding that new gardeners should try planting vegetables such as four-angled beans, kangkung and lemongrass.
Herman Siaman, 36, who was buying seeds at one of the nurseries, said he had received many orders for edible plants which he grew and sold to those who wanted to take up gardening.
“I grow my vegetable plants to a certain stage before selling them to customers who do not know how to go about doing this.
“During the conditional MCO, most of my orders were for fruit trees, chilli, okra and eggplant,” said Herman.
He added that people new to gardening should stick to planting trees which did not take up much space and were suitable for the local climate such as tapioca, sweet potato, lime and lemons.