Everything Seniors Should Know About Gardening In Upstate New York

Whether you plant a few flowers or vegetables in one of the raised gardening boxes at Kingsway Community or tend to an entire backyard garden at your own home, gardening can in many cases have a positive impact on seniors, both mentally and physically. Here’s some info to keep in mind when starting or keeping up with your own garden.


Know Your Zone

Schenectady, NY falls into the USDA’s Plant Hardiness Zone 5, which means it has a medium-length growing season. Plants such as daffodils, hostas, hyacinths, lilies, peonies and tulips thrive here, as do deer-resistant plants like bee balm, bluebell and catmint, and vegetables such as tomatoes, peas, lettuce, carrots and cauliflower. For many vegetables, mid-May is the perfect time to transfer them from indoor pots to outdoor beds and gardens, while beans, corn, cucumber and squash should be started indoors at this time and moved outside in July.


Gardening Is Good For You

Not only will your body benefit from the yummy vegetables you grow in the garden, but the actual act of gardening is good for you as well! Studies have found that gardening lowers stress, increases serotonin, reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke for people over 60, increases mobility, and may even reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia.


Sow Safely

While gardening may not be as physically demanding as hobbies like skiing or pickleball, it’s still important to practice gardening safety, especially for seniors. To prevent strain on your back, consider using raised beds, and swapping out heavy gardening tools for lighter weight alternatives. You should also be cognizant of the sun, covering up with sunscreen, lightweight/long-sleeve clothing and a hat, and be sure to have seating and water readily available. Learn more about the risk of heat stroke here.