BUSINESS BLOSSOMS: Gracemere resident Rene Grych with a passionfruit seedling in the backyard nursery where she grows fruit, vegetables and flowers for sale.
BUSINESS BLOSSOMS: Gracemere resident Rene Grych with a passionfruit seedling in the backyard nursery where she grows fruit, vegetables and flowers for sale. Chris Ison Rokcplants

Vegetable garden helps pensioner grow second income

GARDENING is just a hobby for most people, and it used to be for Rene Grych.

The Gracemere woman however is not content to simply live off her pension and is using her vegetable garden as a second source of income.

For years now Rene has been selling home-grown fruit, vegetables and flowers in the Handy Trader and online through eBay and Gumtree.

She's lived in Gracemere for the last two years, and also spent a few years in Yeppoon and Mt Morgan after moving to the local area from New South Wales.

"I've sold a semi-truck worth of these since I've been in Queensland," she said.

"I started out thinking I might get $100 a month and now I'm getting $100 a week."

All the produce in Rene's garden is grown naturally without chemicals, and she uses composting worms and heavy mulch to help it thrive.

She evens sells those worms to people for fishing or gardening.

Rene first started gardening with her mother when she was 11 but got serious about it after the birth of her first child about 14 years ago.

"After I had my kids I was motivated to do something," she said.

"People are looking for cheaper plants so there's a market."

At the time eBay was a relatively new phenomenon and Rene started looking into it to see if she could take advantage of it.

A recurring dream about flowers also inspired her, and soon her hobby turned into a small business.

"It really happened by accident," she said.

While Rene sells her produce cheaply, she said she also gives some produce away to people who are in need, including pensioners and single mothers.

Her garden includes eggplant, passionfruit, pumpkin, frangipani, strawberries, mangoes and cucumbers.


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