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How to Garden as a Senior Citizen

April 27th, 2011 · 1 Comment

Many people believe gardening is a terrific hobby.  It gives them the chance to work outside and to feel closer to nature by growing food, herbs or beautiful flowers where there was nothing but weeds before. For many people the joy of gardening is far more important than any cost savings they might get from growing their own food.  In fact, it is a hobby that many people have enjoyed for years.  Unfortunately, as people age, they must learn how to garden as a senior citizen.

This may have made you nostalgic for gardening if you, like many seniors, can no longer garden the way you used to.  Even if you are still living in your own home, the physical labor of tilling the soil for planting and then tending the garden may be more than you can do at this stage of life.  While you dearly yearn to get out there and get your hands dirty in the good earth while planting your favorite flowers or crop producing plants, sometimes you are just not able to continue this type of activity.

Losing Your Home Garden

For others in the later years, the time may have come for you to move out of that house you owned that had a yard where you could carve out a bit of land for a garden.  Perhaps you needed to cut back on the amount of maintenance you were able to keep up with.  So you let your kids work with you to sell the old homestead and get a condo or apartment that is much more manageable. 

Sometimes economy or health concerns play a factor in where you are living and the best place for you right now is an assisted care facility where you can have quality medical care available should you need it.  You know this is a good idea and that your children love you and that is why you worked with them, or at least you tried to when they helped you make the transition.

But giving up gardening may be one of the many transitions to a smaller living space that you grieved about losing and miss every spring and summer when you want to be out there in nature enjoying the experience of growing things.  If only there was a way that you could continue this delightful hobby and still be careful with the issues that made gardening at a large scale out of the question.

Where there is a will…

As they say, where there’s a will there’s a way.  And there may be new ways you can continue to enjoy the fun of gardening within the constraints of your senior lifestyle.  One way might be to look into getting some window boxes for your apartment.  These long planting boxes are often used by people who want a small indoor flower garden or to nurture house planets.  But you could get a few of this type of growing space, solicit some help from the facility maintenance people or your kids to get them installed and filled with good earth and enjoy puttering in those small gardening space and see the little plants you picked sprout and grow.  With the extra time you have due to retirement, you are sure to do an outstanding job of caring for that little garden.

You can also help your children or grandchildren learn to garden.  You may find that your children and their spouses wish they knew your gardening secrets and with a bit of partnering, you could use their muscle and flexibility to set up a nice big garden at their house.  Then you can just come over from time to time to tend it as much as you can and supervise when allowed.

Be sure you are at your new gardening location and ready to go when its harvest day and everyone in the family can enjoy the fresh produce and herbs you grew in that garden.  And you will get a sense of renewal that you found how to garden as a senior citizen that lets you keep a treasured pastime and do so within the constraints that aging brings.

Tags: Activities for Seniors


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1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Richard Stancik // May 7, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    I really like this article. It provides a clever solution to a difficult problem. I think that people give up too easily when life presents challenges. The window box idea makes me think of the so called “Birdman of Alcatraz,” Robert Franklin Stroud, who raised and sold birds from prison. While I hope that senior housing is not like prison, the point is to be resourceful!

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