Enjoying a maintenance-free lifestyle is one of the major benefits of moving into a retirement community like Brandermill Woods. No more wrestling with the lawn mower in the summer, the leaf blower in the fall, and the snow shovel in the winter. No more schedules of fertilizer, over-seeding and aeration. No more power-washing, painting or general repairs.
What maintenance-free means is that you can spend your time doing what you “want to do” rather than what you “have to do.” Despite the cumbersome nature of so much yard work, gardening tends to fall into the “want to do” category for many seniors.
Our independent living cottages include patios and outdoor areas where our retirees can do a little gardening, whether it’s planting herbs and veggies or designing floral arrangements in containers. And, as some of our apartment-living seniors know, you don’t necessarily need a plot of earth to do some minor gardening. A window box or even a sunny corner of the room gives you the chance to grow a little something.
Fall might not strike you as the best season to think about gardening—and indeed, spring and summer truly are the high points for flowers, herbs and vegetables. Nevertheless, gardening can be a year-round hobby, with plenty to plant and tend to during the fall and winter.
Here are five tips to enjoy this “want to do” activity this fall:
1. Tend to your spring garden.
Even if you’re not interested in growing anything over the winter, you can still use this time to get ready for spring. Dig up the annuals, give your garden a new bed of mulch, and plant any bulbs you want to enjoy come warmer weather.
2. Spread your gardening wings.
If the word “garden” connotes tomatoes, peppers and squash, you’re missing out on a harvest of delicious vegetables. Why not try your hand at onions, peas, asparagus or another winter vegetable? Not only will you grow something power-packed with nutrients; you’ll also impress your friends with your gardening prowess.
3. Think greens and roots.
Years ago, many of us were taught tomatoes were vegetables, but now they are considered fruits. Fruits technically are seed-bearing structures—meaning that from a botanist’s perspective, bell peppers are also fruits. Winter is the time for true vegetables: leafy greens such as cabbage and underground growers such as carrots. These plants grow better in cooler air with less sunlight.
4. Consider an indoor container garden.
If outdoor winter veggies aren’t for you, herbs, flower arrangements and more grow wonderfully indoors, either in planters or baskets. These plants can give your living space a pop of color and a fresh scent—and lets you practice gardening without having to set foot into rain, sleet or wind.
5. Make a plan for spring.
We’re already into October, meaning the holidays will be here before you know it—and fast on their heels will be time to plant your spring garden. Consider using this time before the holiday rush to map out your spring garden and create a timeline so that in a few short months, you’ll be ready to go.