Green thumb . . . Tending to his vegetable garden is Bupa Windsor Park care home resident Derek Tuck. Some of what he grows will be preserved by other residents. PHOTO: MICHAEL CURREEN

Residents at a Gore care home are drawing upon life experience to grow their own enterprise.

Fruit and vegetables from 89-year-old Derek Tuck’s garden are among those preserved by some of his fellow Bupa Windsor Park Care Home residents.

The preserved fruit and vegetables are then bottled up and sold to visitors.

‘‘I’m delighted that I can contribute,’’ Mr Tuck said.

He had been an avid gardner all of his life and as one of the more able residents at the care home, he had wanted something to keep him active when he first arrived.

He was given his own garden where he grew a range of fruit and vegetables, from courgettes to tomatoes to rhubarb.

‘‘Mint was one of the crowd favourites.

‘‘I try and grow what the kitchen wants.’’

However, he often had leftover produce that the care home kitchen could not use, but that did not mean it went to waste.

Homemade . . . Bupa Windsor Park care home resident Derek Tuck and diversional therapist Karen Bray with a range of chutneys, jams, relishes and other preserved produce made by some of the residents. PHOTO: MICHAEL CURREEN

Diversional therapist Karen Bray ran an activity with some of the residents where they preserved fruit and vegetables.

She said it was about connecting them with the past.

‘‘This is what this generation did and it’s a great activity. If you had excess produce, you didn’t waste it.

‘‘You preserved it in some way — whether that was making jams or relishes or chutneys orwhatever else, that’s what you did.’’

Even for those who were not able to physically take part, they could still be there and talk about it.

‘‘They don’t necessarily have to be hands-on. It can be a great reminiscence tool as well.’’

Money from the sales went back towards activities for the residents, which included trips to areas such as Central Otago to source more produce for the activity.

Family and friends of the residents often bought a jar or two, as did residents of the retirement village and staff.

However, what the residents produced was becoming more popular as news spread through word-of-mouth.

‘‘When we haven’t got any, people start coming in and asking,’’ Ms Bray said.