Living in a big city is convenient, with many amenities and facilities within walking distance. Let’s face it: there is a sad reality that as more and more people come to the cities, more infrastructure is needed to accommodate them, hence the decline of green spaces. In other words, rapid urbanization can shrink green spaces, which is not cool.
That’s why urban gardening has become a viable solution to cool the cities and introduce people to the concept of living in harmony with nature. Gardening is proven to provide plenty of benefits, from the environment to health and society. Explore the basics of urban gardening and how green spaces can help seniors live longer, happier, and healthier.
Discover The Senior’s Guide to Master Urban Gardening
What Is Urban Gardening?
Urban gardening is the practice of taking advantage of urban areas to cultivate green spaces and grow vegetables, flowers, and fruits. Urban gardens are available in many forms, from community, vertical, and guerilla gardens to growing plants in pots and containers right at the windows.
Unlike space-consuming rural gardening, urban gardening is a more humble version of garden cultivation. As people from metropolises or densely populated areas don’t have much access to green spaces, urban gardening allows them to make the most out of their surroundings and tend a garden in places they see fit; it could be a rooftop, a patio, or a balcony. Moreover, urban gardening is a wonderful way to transform a living space, making a dull concrete wall or an abandoned rooftop livelier and more beautiful.
Tips to Consider Before Starting Urban Gardening
The best thing about urban gardens is that seniors can build a green space from scratch, depending on their available resources. Most importantly, urban gardening may be a better option if your parents shun away from the idea of tending a big plot of land.
Cultivating a small garden can be a fulfilling experience for seniors. It stimulates seniors’ senses and supports their connection with nature in a fun way. Here are some tips to get your seniors started with urban gardening.
It is important to start small before giving all efforts to a bigger space. Before having a full-fledged garden on the rooftop or balcony, test the water with small pots, containers, or window boxes (if available). Taking steady steps gives your parents a sense of what gardening is all about. Starting a big garden might overwhelm seniors without gardening experience. Thus, failing to care for such a big garden might dampen their interest. Check here for more indoor gardening projects to add green to seniors’ households.
Choose The Right Location
The correct location is vital for seniors’ physical health. Ensure the gardens are accessible, especially when your seniors have limited mobility. For example, a garden on the rooftop can be hazardous as they have to climb the stairs. Tall pots and containers on shelves are great places to start urban gardening. Besides affordability, it protects seniors from fractures and injuries because constant bending and stooping may cause falls. Besides indoor plants that don’t require sunlight, ensure all the plants get enough sunlight, as most plants require up to 6 hours of sunlight per day.
Use Quality Soil
We all know soil is vital for plants to grow alongside water and sunlight. That’s why investing in high-quality soil is a must. Help your parents research and select soil for pots and raised-bed gardens. Consider adding compost to ensure optimal fertility of the soil.
Choose The Right Plant
Gardening doesn’t have to be arduous. That’s why choosing low-maintenance plants is a good idea to reduce the hassle. Starting with easy-to-care herbs, plants, and vegetables, such as rosemary, oregano, parsley, coriander, thyme, basil, snake plants, cactus, ferns, carrots, and spinach.
Choose The Right Tool
High-quality gardening tools can transform seniors’ gardening experience in unimaginable ways. Lightweight and sturdy shovels and clippers with cushion pads can help seniors with joint issues feel more comfortable tending a garden. Consider purchasing ones with long handles for your seniors because they can be helpful in preventing excessive bending.
Automatic Watering System
Soil moisture is essential for outdoor and indoor plants. Automatic plant waterers can take your seniors’ gardening experience to the next level. Instead of asking someone to come over, your parents can rest assured that their plants receive enough water when they are away from home.
Use Organic Pest Control
Pest control protects plants from uninvited guests. While netting a mesh cover can keep these little rascals away from the plants, consider using organic pest control for extra safety. Regardless, it is all a personal choice whether your parents want to use pest control. Help them find the best organic pest control possible to fight back crop-chomping creatures.
Seeking support from gardening community groups is another tip to get started with urban gardening. Plus, giving a hand to transform abandoned plots around the blocks connects seniors with like-minded individuals, giving them a chance to make more friends along the way.
Benefits of Urban Gardening for Seniors
The tremendous benefits of gardening for seniors are no newsflash. Numerous studies have proven that a garden, whether indoors or outdoors, can improve many aspects of seniors’ lives. However, urban gardening might be a different asset when boosting seniors’ quality of life and overall wellness. Discover other benefits of urban gardening for seniors as follows:
- Green spaces are good for seniors’ health. Whether it is parks or plant pots living indoors, green spaces can pose positive effects on seniors’ overall health and life quality. Seeing more greenery improves seniors’ mood, attention, and physical activity. Living alone or having less socialization can increase seniors’ stress levels. Improvements in mental wellness are another valuable health benefit that seniors can reap from practicing urban gardening.
- Urban gardening boosts a stronger sense of food security. It is important to note that you don’t need a vast stretch of land to grow crops. Urban gardening is excellent because it teaches seniors how to grow all the food they want in limited spaces like a patio. Providing fresh, organic produce year-round is probably the most significant benefit urban gardening can offer seniors. It is a path to sustainable living as many kitchen scraps can regrow in containers with a little bit of water. Seniors can set aside their constant concerns about food safety when their home-grown produce is pesticide-free.
- Growing food with urban gardening saves money. Although many seniors can find ready-to-purchase products in supermarkets and grocery stores, it can become costly over the years as their needs for healthy food increases. Growing fruits and vegetables right inside or around the house can partially cut down seniors’ food budgets. They can now enjoy a diverse range of vegetables without venturing outside for grocery shopping. Homegrown food is healthier and higher quality than store bought food. Homegrown food is also available to eat all year round.
- Urban gardening adds more greenery to seniors’ living spaces. Don’t underestimate the power of having a green area in seniors’ living spaces. Incorporating nature in and around the house with urban gardening helps seniors revitalize their senses and calm their thoughts, ultimately preventing or delaying the progression of many illnesses. Moreover, adding more plants to the living space can help cool the house and increase oxygen levels, which are advantageous for seniors in the long run.
- Urban gardening brings people together. Living in a bustling city can pull seniors away from meaningful human interaction and activities. It leads to stress, anxiety, and depression due to prolonged isolation. For example, a community garden is a great way to bring people of all ages together. By sowing the seeds and watering plants with others in a community garden, seniors can have more enjoyable moments with new people, staving off feelings of loneliness and depressive symptoms.
- Seniors can learn new skills from urban gardening. Cultivating a garden is a superb way for seniors to obtain gardening skills and learn more about nature and its beauty. From inspecting plant life cycles to researching tricks and tips to keep their small garden in the best condition, seniors keep their brains active and grow more aware of their surroundings. This is especially beneficial for seniors experiencing memory loss or chronic illnesses like Alzheimer’s.
If you have questions about urban gardening or any topics discussed here, connect with us and learn more.
At 12 Oaks, our team of caring professionals is dedicated to keeping residents safe, engaged, and connected to their families and friends while leading fulfilling lives. 12 Oaks Senior Living Communities are an ideal place to enjoy the encore season of life.
For questions or to schedule a personalized tour, don’t hesitate to contact us.
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