Organic Vegetable Gardening: The Perfect Retirement Hobby

Meet Inge from Diamond Creek, Victoria, Australia 🇦🇺

“I’m 59 years old and am originally from Denmark but have lived in Australia for 19 years. I’m the mother of two grown up daughters.

I grew up on a farm where we always grew our own vegetables and have been growing my own food whenever I could. Two years ago I retired and started my vegetable garden again. 

I find growing my own food really rewarding, to see things grow from a small seed into a delicious vegetable is unbeatable. You just can’t buy food with the intense flavour you harvest in your garden. I find gardening to be a great hobby – it keeps me fit and I love being outdoors.

I started out in 2019 with 4 raised garden beds and a greenhouse and have now expanded to 13 raised garden beds. I grow whatever is in season. Where I am, I can grow vegetables all year round and we enjoy eating whatever is in season and don’t really preserve or freeze very much produce. I’m also able to extend the growing season for summer vegetables in my greenhouse and overwinter chillies, eggplants and capsicum.

I’m making my own compost to improve the soil and fertilize with manure- based pellets. To manage pests in the garden I plant beneficial flowers and herbs. I grow a lot of French marigold and basil around the vegetables as they attract beneficial insects to help with organic pest control. I’m also using sacrificial plants to draw pests away from the main crops. In some cases, I use netting.

I’m growing everything from seed, mainly heirloom and open pollinated seeds that I source from local seed companies. I recently started saving my own seeds. It has been quite a success so far and I’ll definitely do this more in the future.

Growing organically can be quite challenging and sometimes even frustrating. You need to be prepared to lose crop now and then. But it is extremely rewarding to go out into my backyard to harvest fresh, organic produce daily from seeds I grew myself and knowing no pesticide residues remain. It gives me great pleasure to see the joy it brings to my family and my friends I share my produce with.

Through the Instagram garden community, we share a lot of ideas, different vegetables to grow, experiences and seeds. A new group has just been set up in my local community for produce sharing which I’m looking forward to joining.

Don’t hesitate if you want to start a vegetable garden even if you only have a small space or if you are in a rental property. I’m self-taught but through research, social media exchanges of ideas and also trial and error. Not only is it super rewarding, it also helps us in reducing waste and taking care of our environment.”