Patient story: Gardening is my healthy hobby

16 Dec 2019 1:41 PMTandem Health
Patient story: Gardening is my healthy hobby

It’s always humbling to hear patient stories about healthy habits and the great things our patients are doing to enhance their well-being beyond the consultation room.

We're often privy to examples of how simple lifestyle tweaks can make a big difference and inspire others. From fitness goals to healthy eating plans and joining a social group to self care in the form of healthy hobbies…. our patients are impressive in many ways.

With this in mind, we’d like to share an uplifting patient story to get you thinking about how you too can introduce healthy routines and interests into your weeks.

Recently, our patient mentioned how far his vegetable garden had come over the last few months and how his new hobby offers a healthy boost for his young family. Yes, young people can garden too! Fresh home grown produce, herbs and at home hobby gardens are no longer reserved for retirees, it’s a pastime being embraced by all ages and it’s great to see.

We spoke with our patient about his new love of gardening to gain an insight into this healthy hobby and maybe even learn a few things about how to grow big beetroots from seeds (we’re still working on that) 😊.

With much enthusiasm our patient shared how he got started, why he chose to give gardening a go and why he’ll continue to expand his at home one stop vegetable shop. Gardening aside, the positivity and excitement that come with finding a new healthy hobby you genuinely enjoy has the ability impact various aspects of life. Aka motivation has a ripple effect.

Here’s our patient’s story:

“On a day off I noticed there was an area in the garden that was wasted, it was nothing, just a pile of dirt that got great sun. After I finished the mowing, I also noticed a few old pots in the shed and some old deck sleepers stacked against my fence. You know, things you’ve been meaning to take to the tip but haven’t yet.

It got me thinking about what I could do with that area to make it more useable as it would be cool to have a new productive space in the yard. I’ve always liked having a little project, something to work on after work and on the weekend, but I like to see results. My past ‘on the side’ projects had the tendency to grow and become fairly big tasks and although I enjoyed the process and created things I am proud of whilst having a little down time, I was looking for something a less demanding.”

(For the record: we uncovered this patient fully restored a 30-year-old caravan, transformed and rebuilt an old truck and constructed a multi-rope obstacle course for his two young sons in the backyard. Impressive ‘on the side’ projects!).

“I’ve always wanted a little vegie garden in the yard, my wife adores vegetables, I should eat more vegetables and I hoped my kids would show more of an interest in vegetables if they could see them growing right next to their cubby house. And like everyone, I wanted to spend less on store bought herbs and greens.

I did a bit of research online (you can learn almost anything online these days), spoke to a few avid gardeners (thanks father in law and great grandmother) and started transforming the area one pot at a time.

I planted seeds, off cuts, all sorts of things. Some took, some didn’t. My kids became very curious and got involved along the way. Now, we spend even more time outdoors playing and gardening. The nurturing process is rewarding and enjoyable, it’s a positive way to spend free time. Relaxing while creating something healthy for my family ticks a lot of boxes for me. The garden has presented many opportunities to show the kids how we can all be healthier.

Over the year I continued to collect large used pots from my local tip shop and just kept planting, watering and spending time in the garden. The space has expanded into other areas of our yard too. The best part - we now have a full range of fresh herbs, beetroots, cucumbers, beans, tomatoes, baby spinach, kale, shallots, carrots, chives, lettuce, chilli’s and more. I will definitely keep it up, I want to see what else I can grow.”


We asked our patient about tips for starting a basic hobby garden. Here’s what he shared:
  • Read online
  • Talk to others, ask questions
  • Experiment, try it out
  • Don’t spend big money on expensive raised garden beds, collect used large pots instead
  • Make sure the area you choose gets adequate sun
  • Just start and see how you go, if you enjoy it, continue
  • Buy good quality soil
  • Read the info on the seed package
Gardening, like many other healthy hobbies offers an array of health benefits. We investigated the possible health benefits of a hobby garden, here’s what we found:
  • Time outdoors in nature (be sure to slip slop slap)
  • The chance to nurture something real and see tangible results = heart warming achievement
  • Social interaction if done as part of a group, gardening groups are a plenty
  • Once established cost savings on fruit, vegetables and herbs can follow
  • Light form of exercise and movement
  • Form of mindful meditation = potential to improve your mood
  • Increased fruit and vegetable intake as the produce is right there in your back or front yard - A great way to get your recommended daily servings of fruit and vegies
Gardening resources:

What’s your healthy hobby? If you’d like to share your story and inspire others simply let our team or your Doctor know. 

By Hayley Hughes