Filed under: Aging in place, Assisted Living, Baby Boomers, Community Gardens, Continue Care Retirement Communities, Gardening, Healing Gardens, Horticultural Therapy, Landscape Architecture, landscape design, Organic gardens, Restorative gardens, Senior Living, Successful Aging, Sustainability, Sustainable design, Therapeutic Gardens
According to recent research data collected by the the Garden Writers Association, there will be a 17% increase in vegetable gardens in 2009 (www.gardenwriters.org). There were 36 million people in 2008 who had a vegetable garden in 2008 and it is anticipated that in 2009 the number of gardeners will grow to be 43 million people. The gardens that people are working in are not larger, either. The average size is 100 square feet and people are interested in raising primarily vegetables, herbs and fruit.
People are interested in starting and maintaining a garden for a variety of reasons. Yes, one reason does have to do with the economy. However, this is not just a current need. The interest in having a garden
has been growing stronger in recent years for many other reasons. People are looking for hobbies, this is a way to socialize and to also spend more time at home. There is also the interest in knowing where your food came from and growing it yourself is a way to insure that it is the best quality possible. Being able to grow organic produce is another big consideration. Whatever the reason or reasons, the trend is increasing significantly each year.
An important consideration in being able to raise all of this produce is to be able to help others. The Garden Writers Association has created a program called ‘Plant A Row’. Gardeners are encouraged to plant an extra row for the homeless and needy. Food banks, soup kitchens and other service organizations who help the needy will benefit from your generosity. Please consider raising extra vegetables, herbs and fruits in your garden this year. Additional information on this program can be found at http://www.gardenwriters.org/gwa.php?p=par/index.html
Filed under: Aging in place, Assisted Living, Baby Boomers, Community Gardens, Continue Care Retirement Communities, Gardening, Healing Gardens, Horticultural Therapy, Landscape Architecture, landscape design, Organic gardens, Restorative gardens, Senior Environment Assessment, Senior Living, Successful Aging, Sustainability, Sustainable design, Therapeutic Gardens, Uncategorized
The Recreation Department of Medford Township had the vision to create several raised planters as an addition to the very successful Community Garden Program. There are approximately 36 (20′ x 20′) garden plots and they are in demand each year. In fact, there has been a waiting list since the Community Garden Program was created. There are three hose bibs located throughout the area to help gardeners keep their plants growing strong and healthy. Some of the gardeners are into production, maximizing every square inch, while others are into creating some colorful displays.
The Recreation folks did not want to forget about the older gardeners who want to continue participating each year. Raised planters were constructed and installed for the 2008 growing season to help them access their garden areas easier. The planters are created from recycled boards and measure 4′ x 8′x15″ high . The planters are not too ‘deep’ to allow a person to reach into the center of the planter. The reactions have been very positive and encouraging thoughts were offered for the 2009 season. (Details of the raised planters can be obtained by emailing Jack at firstname.lastname@example.org)
I had an opportunity to talk with some of the gardeners who utilized the raised planters. “They are easy for us to work in and are absolutely marvelous” was one of the comments offered. Another participant exclaimed that ‘they are easy to weed and to keep the pests out’ (always a challenge for the on-grade gardeners.) One of the gardeners who is shorter in statue indicated that ‘I could sit on the edge and work because I am only 5′ tall.’ The gardeners who were garden testing the raised planters were satisfied overall. They have actually asked for additional planters. The Township is considering installing more this year.
Additional information on the Medford Twp. Community Gardening Program can be obtained from the Township’s web site at http://www.medfordtownship.com
Filed under: Aging in place, Assisted Living, Baby Boomers, Community Gardens, Continue Care Retirement Communities, Gardening, Healing Gardens, Landscape Architecture, landscape design, Organic gardens, Restorative gardens, Senior Environment Assessment, Senior Living, Successful Aging, Therapeutic Gardens, Uncategorized
Gardening is important for older adults and a research study published in HortScience (44:6-223, 2009) validates what we have intuitively know. The study, “Physical and Psychological Health Conditions of Older Adults Classified as Gardeners or Nongardeners”, was conducted by Candice A. Shoemaker, Ph.D. and Mark D. Haub at Kansas State University. The results of the study indicate that “active gardeners and gardeners had greater hand strength and pinch force than non-gardeners.” The implications are that gardening, which is a physical activity, will help seniors to stay in shape as well as improve hand strength.
Candice Shoemaker was interviewed by United Press International regarding the study and was quoted as saying that “older adults who are gardeners have better strength and pinch force, which is important as you age.” Dr. Shoemaker believes that “there’s a lot of natural motivation in gardening, you know there’s a plant you’ve got to go out and water and weed to keep alive. If we get the message out there that older adults can get health benefits from gardening, they’ll realize that they don’t have to walk around the mall to get exercise.” Gardening is a lot more interesting because you are outside in nature which is ever changing. Therefore, the results indicate that gardening improves the physical health of older adults and it also improves the person’s self-esteem. The link to the UPI article can be found at:
Filed under: Aging in place, Alzheimer Residence, Assisted Living, Baby Boomers, Community Gardens, Continue Care Retirement Communities, Gardening, Healing Gardens, Meditation Gardens, Organic gardens, Restorative gardens, Senior Environment Assessment, Senior Living, Successful Aging, Sustainable design, Therapeutic Gardens, Uncategorized
The signs that spring is approaching are increasing almost every day. The ground hog is one of the early indicators (even if he was less that optimistic this year). There are other signals that are emerging and the one that seems to signal loudly are the birds. Listening to their songs throughout the day makes me feel like the daffodils and forsythia cannot be that far behind.
There are some simple and easy ways to attract birds into you garden. Be sure to provide plants that have fruit, nuts and/or seeds as a part of the plant. You can supplement these food sources by adding bird feeders to your garden. Nature will also add to their diet by supplying the worms and insects.
The second and probably the most important element to add to your garden to encourage the birds to visit is water. Having a source of fresh water in the form of a bird bath will allow the birds to get a drink. Make sure the water is changed regularly and includes a heater for the remaining winter days.
Shelter is also an important consideration and will offer protection from predators. Make sure that there are shrubs and trees in the garden where the birds can find protection and a place to build their nests. Putting these pieces into place will definitley encourage the birds to visit and spend time in your garden. The result will be a yard that is filled with wonderful melodies all season long. This is especially important for those older adults who may not be able to venture outside as often during the colder winters days, yet can still watch the birds from their windows.
Filed under: Aging in place, Alzheimer Residence, Assisted Living, Community Gardens, Continue Care Retirement Communities, Gardening, Healing Gardens, Landscape Architecture, landscape design, Meditation Gardens, Organic gardens, Restorative gardens, Senior Environment Assessment, Senior Living, Successful Aging, Therapeutic Gardens, Uncategorized
As we get ready for another season in the garden, we should take the time to make sure the garden is safe for everyone, especially older adults. The rules for what we do to make the indoor areas of a home safe also applies to outdoor areas. Start by taking a general look around at the garden. Are there obvious things that we know will make enjoying the garden safer? Are the walking paths level and have not buckled with age? Are there over low hanging branches that need to be pruned back or shrubs that have grown over the walking path? Look for the obstructions that might make it difficult for someone to use the garden.
There are things to watch out for on a daily basis when people are using the garden. Make sure that the paths are not slippery and have time to dry after watering. Be sure that hoses are put away and have not been left crossing the walk. Have tools been put away in the shed? Look to see if there are handrails, chairs and tables for people to steady themselves. Is the garden area visible from the indoors and windows are not obstructed by shrubs or trees. Is it possible to include a call system or have a cell phone available in the garden? Be sure to use stable furniture that is not prone to tipping. These and other considerations
are important for the safe use of the garden.