Late winter into early spring is the perfect time to start thinking about gardens! April into mid-May is the typical time in the Midwest to start planting, so you should allow plenty of time to plan your garden before then.
Gardening is a popular past time, especially for many seniors that have the desire after retirement to enjoy being outside and working in the dirt. Not only are gardens a great way for seniors to be active and socialize but they can also be a great source of fresh flowers, fruits and vegetables.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services allows community gardens so long as you have a policy and procedure on file for maintaining the gardens as well as safe and sanitary use of the produce.
Here are some tips from the University of Minnesota Master Gardener Program:
- Select a site with 6-8 hours of daylight that is well drained and near a water source.
- Plan your site. Make sure to put short plants on the sunny side, medium plants in the middle and tall plans on the north side.
- Consider using raised beds. They do require some effort to construct but offer many benefits and can be built to wheelchair height.
Other garden style options include trellising or square foot gardening.
Be sure to involve your activity director and any other departments in your garden planning, construction and maintenance that would benefit from and could assist with its development.
A garden can be a great way to differentiate yourself from other senior living communities! And… you will likely be surprised with just how many residents, staff and visitors enjoy and compliment you on your garden!