Gardening benefits seniors’ mental and physical health. It can also help your aging loved ones feel more connected to the outdoors, appreciate nature, and provide them with a sense of accomplishment when they harvest vegetables or flowers from their garden, and give them an opportunity to socialize with friends who are also gardening nearby.
There are many studies that show how gardening may help with cognitive functions. For instance, gardening can help improve balance and strength. It can even help with depression, loneliness, anxiety, or dementia.
The benefits of gardening for seniors are tenfold. If you’re ready to get started, consider some of these fun and easy gardening projects today. Get that trowel brushed off and ready to go!
5 Easy Gardening Projects for Seniors
1. Plant Cherry Tomatoes
Tomatoes are known for their versatility – as well as how easy they are to grow. The good news is that you do not need a massive garden to grow tons of tomatoes. You just need a patio, balcony, or porch.
There are many dwarf cultivars of tomatoes that grow well in containers but some of the best to consider are cherry tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes grow extraordinarily well in pots and while they’ll need to be watered and fertilized more often (containers leach water and nutrients more readily than their in-ground counterparts), they are perfect for seniors who might have mobility issues.
When you grow cherry tomatoes in containers, you can move the pots around to wherever they need to be. That means no more worrying about bending with aching joints or hauling yourself out to the garden, where you’ll have to work on your hands and knees.
2. Grow Spanish Moss
Spanish moss can be difficult to find for sale at nurseries and gardening supply stores. When you do happen to find it, it can be extremely expensive.
The good news is that it is easy to propagate from existing plants. By starting with one plant, you can create countless others for you and your friends to enjoy. Make a small bundle of Spanish moss to hang on a tree, to grow indoors, or to decorate your home.
This is a fun project that will allow you to garden even on a rainy, stormy day. You don’t need the perfect weather conditions to garden!
3. Make Garden Markers
Rather than wasting money on garden markers from a local store, make some with your grand-kids! You can use just about anything as a base for your craft, whether it be some stones or some Popsicle sticks.
Paint them with images of certain plants or write down what goes where – scatter these around your garden to mark the spot where you planted.
Not only is making garden markers a great way to work on your garden indoors (you don’t need good weather in order to do this!) but you can also do it while sitting comfortably at your kitchen table. Crafting stuff boosts your critical thinking skills and enhances mobility.
4. Grow a Snacking Garden
You may have heard of fun gardening activities like growing pizza gardens or windowsill herb gardens. But what about a snacking garden?
If you’re like most senior Americans, there’s a good chance that your diet isn’t quite as healthy as it could be. Whether you prefer to snack on fruits or vegetables, spices and herbs, or other plant-based foods, growing a snacking garden is a great way to help you maintain good brain and overall body health.
Consider starting a garden near your kitchen for easy access – a garden that’s just for snacking, that is!
You can plant anything you want, from celery to raspberries, but make sure you choose your favorite options (and keep them within close reach) so that you always have something healthy to munch on when the 2 pm energy crash rolls around!
5. Plant Indoor Bulbs
Growing spring bulbs is a great way for guaranteed flowers, even during the gloomiest months of the year. You can grow plants like narcissus, hyacinth, and amaryllis from bulbs and keep them indoors year-round – provided that you have a sunny windowsill.
For seniors with limited mobility, this is the perfect gardening project.
Just start with bulbs that come from a reputable nursery and plant them in glass containers. Put some pebbles into the container and arrange a few bulbs with the root side down, then fill the container with enough water to touch the bulbs’ roots.
They’ll grow extraordinarily well with minimal care, provided that you put them in a sunny environment.
Gardening tips for seniors
It can be hard to find the time to garden, even when you’re enjoying your retirement, but there are a few things you can do to make it easier.
Planting in containers is an excellent way for seniors and others who may have mobility issues, because they don’t need much room.
The most important thing to consider when gardening as a senior is that you need to take it easy. You may be tempted to get out there and dig with the best of them, but this will only lead to exhaustion.
Focus on doing smaller garden projects such as weeding or watering plants rather than heavy lifting, whenever possible. Keep things small and contained, at least to begin with, if this is your first time gardening.
If you don’t have any other way of getting around, make sure your garden has plenty of seats within it so that you can take breaks whenever needed!
Seniors who garden are healthier, happier and more engaged with life. Gardening is a great way to meet new people in the neighborhood or at your church. It’s also a low-cost hobby that provides you with fresh vegetables and fruits all year round!
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