Gardening is a fantastic hobby for people of all ages. There are few better ways for retirees to spend their newfound free time than outside in the garden. You get exercise, increase your endurance, enjoy lots of fresh air, and gain satisfaction from growing and nurturing something with your own hands.
Plus, gardening is a low intensity hobby, making it accessible for people of all ability and mobility levels. While some gardening tasks, like digging and pruning, can be challenging for some, there are plenty of ways to adapt to your specific needs.
With that said, here are our top gardening tips for retirees:
Get the Right Tools
Conventional gardening tools can be tough to use if you’re dealing with any kind of chronic pain or mobility challenges. Thankfully, there are lots of gardening tools tailored for this.
For instance, consider gardening tools with longer handles. This feature makes it easier to prune or weed without constantly bending and stretching. Similarly, foam handles are great for avoiding aches and pains when gripping tools.
Also, tools with bright colors are more visible around the garden, which may help if you’re having vision issues.
If you’re new to gardening, make sure you buy all the necessary tools, such as a trowel, fork, spade, rake, watering can, etc.
Choose Suitable Plants
There is no shortage of plants you can add to your garden, but make sure to choose species native to your region! You want to avoid plants that aren’t native, otherwise they may be challenging to grow best, and invasive at worst.
Native plants are generally the easier to grow and will thrive best in your garden. You may also benefit from choosing low-maintenance plants, which means you won’t need to worry as much about constantly trimming, pruning, and feeding them.
Don’t forget to consider the overall layout and conditions of your garden and soil as well. For example, if your garden has a lot of shaded areas, avoid getting too many plants that require significant direct sunlight.
Plant in Containers
Constantly bending and stretching makes gardening tougher as we age. To address this, consider planting in containers at higher heights to make gardening easier on your body.
Raised planters and flower beds allow you to garden without bending or kneeling too often, meaning you can even garden from the comfort of a chair.
While building raised beds from scratch may not be on your wish list, consider asking a relative for help putting them together, or buy pre-made ones at your local gardening center.
A simple alternative to raised beds is hanging baskets. These are easily installed along walls and fences, allowing you to plant all kinds of fresh flowers. Strawberries are also a great fit for hanging baskets, letting you enjoy fruit fresh from your garden.
Know When to Bring in Help
While there are plenty of gardening tasks scalable for varying ability levels, certain tasks may require some assistance.
Knowing when to call for help is important, as otherwise you could risk injury. Don’t worry about calling a friend or relative for a bit of help around the garden – it’s a great chance to bond!
Also, be mindful of what gardening tasks may require help. For example, mowing a lawn may require someone with more endurance, especially if your lawn is large. Pruning thick branches is challenging too, so consider getting help if you have a lot of trees or shrubs with large branches.
If you’re seeking help with gardening projects, consider checking for local gardening groups on social media or at your local community center.
Gardening is hugely beneficial for retirees. It’s an easy form of exercise, keeping you active and mobile, while improving strength and endurance. Being amongst nature is also great for our mental health, not to mention that the act of gardening itself is both relaxing and rewarding. Time to dig in!