Spring Gardening With Seniors

BY AMANDA MOSES

The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming, and the gates of the Spring Creek Recreational Fund’s (SCRF) Urban Garden Classroom (UGC) are open for students and seniors to learn and explore this spring. The UGC is the perfect place for people of all ages to get in tune with Mother Nature and help nurture their green thumbs.

In May, Spring Creek Senior Partners (SCSP) kicked off their spring to summer gardening club sessions with Garden Educator, Jacqui Roytman. The club meets periodically throughout the year, but nothing beats enjoying that start of spring feeling—when the days smell like fresh rain and the dozens of tiny seedlings begin to flourish.

Members of the SCSP Gardening Club know first-hand that spring-time means there are lots of things to be done in a garden. Every Wednesday from 10am to 12pm, the seniors meet and discuss the activities they will be participating in for the day. Sometimes the garden beds need weeding, so the seniors don their gloves and hand rakes to pull out those stubborn weeds. Other times there are herbs and vegetables that need planting and watering.

Since the start of spring, Roytman has been replacing old garden beds with new treated cedar beds. These beds need new soil, so the seniors will be helping to spread fresh soil into these beautiful beds and planting various vegetables in them.

Many of the SCSP Garden Club members dress for the day’s activities, which include jeans, shorts, and t-shirts. If they are feeling like real farmers, they can wear a big old farmer’s hat or even a regular baseball cap to protect them from the sunlight.

Gardening is a wonderful activity that is mentally calming and physically active. According to the US Environmental Protection Agen-cy Office of Brownfields and Land Revitalization, “Elder-accessible -older volunteers to contribute their time and expertise to grow nutri-tious foods, socialize with one another, and pass on cross-generational knowledge to younger community members. Researchers have found that aging, as well as medication, can bring physiological changes that may affect appetite, the sense of taste, or even the ability to chew and swallow foods. With those changes, new approaches to food presentation and preparation are needed to stimulate appetite and interest in food. The gardening and harvesting of varied garden-fresh food may be one step that creates new enthusiasm for eating among older people. Physical activity, especially weight bearing activity, can help slow the loss of bone mass that naturally occurs with aging.”

If you are interested in joining the SCSP Gardening Club call 718-348-7620 for more information and to sign up.

Photo By: Amanda Moses