For client gardener Nick, the three acres of gardens at Thrive near Reading play a similar role, with one feature being a favourite – the compost heap.
Every Thursday, Nick can be found working hard on creating the ideal conditions for turning decaying vegetation and organic matter into food for soil.
Given the size of the compost bin system at Thrive, doing this offers a big physical workout for 36-year-old Nick but it is one he relishes.
‘It’s amazing how my fitness has changed,’ said Nick. ‘Doing the compost is so active.’
Increasing his strength and fitness is a major reason why Nick loves composting: ‘I want my biceps to get bigger and my calf muscles to be stronger.’
With old banana skins, tea bags and egg shells among the ingredients going into the mix, making compost is not for every client gardener but Nick isn’t fazed: ‘It’s smelly but in a good way.’
Keeping fit is a major motivator for Nick and not just at Thrive. He attends a gym up to four times a week and enjoys weightlifting, running and ‘more weights’.
Being at Thrive has also given him an appreciation of the importance of diet and nutrition in keeping healthy.
In his own raised bed at Thrive, he grows tomatoes, potatoes, beans, carrots. Like Popeye, spinach is a firm favourite of Nick’s, and he uses it with eggs to create protein-rich meals at home.
Nick enjoys sharing the fruits of his labours in the garden with family and friends: ‘Anything I do at Thrive makes me feel brilliant and proud.
‘Thrive is a good place, with good staff and volunteers who are such kind and gentle people.’