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Turning a green thumb into a pastime is good for you and the garden.

Words by Graham Goody

Some people play tennis, some swim, others play in the garden. Gardening is a physical activity everyone can do and we can all benefit from getting out in the sunlight.

I grew up on a pineapple farm. Later I had an engineering business in Maroochydore and also worked on my avocado farm on weekends, so I’ve had a fair bit to do with working on the land. My wife, Judy, is as involved in the garden as me because she was the main gardener and I was the labourer on our previous place. We had five hectares, so there were a fair few gardens!

At Halcyon Landing, there are several gardening areas that include raised garden beds in a community garden, a separate garden that also houses a chicken coop and beehives, and several homeowners also grow their own produce in their backyards. I moved to Halcyon Landing two years ago and the garden beds and fruit trees were already well established.

I’ve recently taken over as one of the new gardening team coordinators at Halcyon Landing, which basically means overseeing what’s happening in the community gardening area and its eight garden beds. There are around a dozen of us on the team who are involved in tending their own garden beds, selling the fresh fruit and veg at our Friday afternoon markets or using the produce to make marmalades and relishes. It’s a mixed bag, but we all work together harmoniously.

We grow the fresh produce that people want to use regularly and sell it cheaply to cover our expenses and buy fertilisers, new soil and sprays for the garden.

At the moment we are growing tomatoes, lettuce, radishes, spinach, beans and silverbeet. Our citrus trees have been going gangbusters this year and have just started fruiting, so in a few months we’ll have lemons, oranges, mandarins and cumquats as well.

There are so many benefits to growing your own fruit, herbs and vegetables. Along with the physical, mental and economical benefits of gardening, if you have an interest in something and you can find a way to express that interest, then that’s good for you, too.

Our gardening team works simply but organically. It’s a village atmosphere where everyone pitches in and helps. I think everyone benefits from the community garden – we like playing in the dirt and people get cheap veggies!