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COLUMN: Senior living - Gardening enriches mind, body and soul

— Spring has sprung in Baldwinsville! At Silver Fox Senior Social Club, our members have embraced the promise of seasonal temperatures and longer days by tending to the rapidly growing plants in our indoor greenhouse. Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and various herbs are all being grown from seeds. We are excited about moving everything outdoors after the threat of a hard freeze passes.

Many senior citizens cherish working in a garden. Being outdoors, getting exercise and benefitting nutritionally from the harvest are all good reasons why gardening is popular among the senior population.

Some tips for senior gardening given by the Baldwinsville Women’s Gardening Club:

Variety is the spice of life. Plant fruits and vegetables you love, along with a few you may not be that familiar with. Consider fragrant herbs such as basil and rosemary. Not only do they smell good, they enhance the taste of your food.

Keep it simple. Plant native plants and/or perennials as these require less care and maintenance.

Raised garden beds are especially good if kneeling is a problem and higher ones are accessible from wheelchairs. Container gardens are lovely and can be placed wherever you would like color. They are easily maintained once planted.

Try to avoid working in the garden between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., as this is when the sun is at its peak. Regardless of the time, always apply sunscreen; wear a wide brimmed hat, sunglasses and gardening gloves if working outdoors during the spring and summer. Allow for time to rest in the shade.

Bring along a water bottle to stay hydrated during your time in the garden.

Paint gardening tools a bright color, such as yellow or red, which makes them easier to locate if set down in dirt or in the grass. Long-handled garden tools are available that help to eliminate some of the reaching and bending.

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