Lifestyle

Former policeman's garden is bursting with Jap pumpkins

DURING his career as a police officer John Raatz would wind down after a long shift with a spot of gardening.

Wherever he was posted, the current North Booval resident would take his green thumb and his bee hives along with him.

Now after decades of gardening, the retiree has set up a permanent farm, or The Ranch as it's know, which boasts more than 70 hanging pumpkins.

The grandfather of 10 said he came up with the idea when he needed to make more room on his 2.5 acre property, which he shares with wife Joy, for their beloved Jap pumpkins.

"There can be a lot of negatives in the police force so gardening has always been a way to de-stress for me," he said.

"Pumpkins normally grow on the ground but these won't drop off until I pick them, no matter how big they are. These were planted just after winter in September and they'll last for 12 months so we'll have pumpkins all year long."

Mr Raatz said his crop was best simply roasted or turned into a rich pumpkin soup during the cooler months.

GREEN THUMB: Local gardener John Raatz of North Booval has grown a hanging pumpkin trellis in his back yard.
GREEN THUMB: Local gardener John Raatz of North Booval has grown a hanging pumpkin trellis in his back yard. David Nielsen

"I'm a mad gardener, always have been and they're just beautiful eating," he said.

"There's not much I don't know about growing veggies."

The retired sergeant also grows mangoes, beans, and potatoes on The Ranch, which also hosts sheep, alpacas, Quaker Parrots, bee hives and homing pigeons.

A love of the outdoors runs in the family for Mr Raatz, whose 12-year-old grandson Miller Wilson has been dubbed as "the next Steve Irwin".

Mr Raatz said he was proud of young Miller, who discovered internet fame after posting YouTube videos of his wildlife encounters.

"It's the same thing I used to do as a kid," he said.

Topics:  gardening, ipswich, pumpkins




Town with 'unique country flair' will be ruined: resident

Jonathan Emms of Rosewood is concerned about a proposed townhouse development for this John Street block of land.

Residents concerned by high density development proposal

'Hot spot' Ipswich at centre of welfare fraud crackdown

Labor's Alfredo Navarro says 30 contract terminations at Centrelink's Coffs Harbour call centre is not the jobs story the Coalition told pre-election.

Federal taskforce has Ipswich rorters in its sights

Ipswich shed rip off merchant caught out again

Home of Paul De Bruin, 16 Corndale Street, Loganholme. Photo Inga Williams / The Queensland Times Image digitally altered.

Big fine for shonky businessman up to old tricks

Latest deals and offers

Rob Kardashian 'neglected' by Blac Chyna

Friends say they are now 'back in love'

Isla Fisher: I don't like talking about my private life

Isla Fisher shut down TV hosts when they asked about her husband

Mariah Carey: I 'can't believe' Prince has gone

'Prince was one of the best people I've met'

Joe Jonas' 'tough' pals

Joe Jonas' pals are 'tough' with his potential partners

The Bachelor wash up: bacon, plank offs and that white rose

Richie Strahan, second from left, with bachelorettes Eliza, Faith, Noni and Janey in a scene from episode one of the fourth season of The Bachelor.

RICHIE Strahan meets some beautiful, and colourful, bachelorettes.

Town with 'unique country flair' will be ruined: resident

Jonathan Emms of Rosewood is concerned about a proposed townhouse development for this John Street block of land.

Residents concerned by high density development proposal

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

72-year-old Coast developer set to start new project

GREEN LIGHT: The Cosmopolitan has been approved for development at Cotton Tree.

Meet the Canberran set to deliver another chapter for Coast suburb

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd