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Do you enjoy the experience of selecting veggies or flowers to plant in your own garden? Do you look forward to nurturing the little ones along, weeding, responsibly watering them and finally enjoying the fruits, vegetables and blossoms? If you answered yes, you are in good company! According to the National Gardening Association, gardening is enjoyed by more than 78 million people each year. No matter what our age or skill level, gardening can be good for us physically, spiritually and emotionally.

Tips for the Senior Gardener

  • Paint your garden tools with a bright color. This will enable you to easily locate tools.
  • Purchase seed and seed tape for easier handling and planting. Do it yourself projects for making one’s own seed tape is available online. All it takes is seed, tweezers, all purpose glue and a roll of toilet paper. This can be a fun multi generational activity with the grand kids.
  • Grow plants that heighten the sense of touch or smell. Herbs use little water, are fragrant and can be used in daily cooking. Madera’s local Peter’s Brother’s Nursery located at 1135 S Granada Drive has a variety of seasonal options.
  • Build and design raised beds that provide a place to sit and garden. At Cedar Creek Senior Living there are two large planting beds created using cement blocks. There are many other options for the do it yourselfer from kits to wooden planks.
  • Try using a low stool, chair, or bench to avoid the constant stooping or squatting.
  • For safety sake, garden early in the morning or late in the day. Avoid being out between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Drink plenty of decaffeinated fluids to prevent dehydration. Coffee and ice tea are not the best choices albeit popular ones.
  • Wear lightweight clothing, such as a long sleeved shirt, eye protection, sunscreen, a big hat to shade your face, and gardening gloves. Try applying your favorite hand lotion before slipping on those gloves.

Talk To the Experts

Master Gardener volunteers are trained by the University of California Cooperative Extension and are available to help! Do you need advice with your garden? Have pest problems? Master Gardeners are available to answer your gardening and landscape questions each Tuesday from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. Call (559) 675-7879 Ext. 7210 or email your questions to mgmadera@ucdavis.edu.

Watering Tips: Don’t forget the basics

  • Check for and repair leaks around the faucets, hoses and sprinkler lines.
  • Adjust sprinkler heads to maximize coverage, avoid watering sidewalks and patios.
  • Install a drip irrigation system, grouping plants with similar water needs together on one drip irrigation line.

Using recycled water, or gray water, to irrigate landscape plants helps conserve water, electricity and reduces water bills. An estimated 30 to 50 percent of home water consumption results in grayw ater, which can be recycled into the landscape. Most homes can supply one-half to 3/4 of water-efficient landscape needs using gray water.

Recycled Gray water Sources:

  • Residential washing machines
  • Bathtubs
  • Showers
  • Sinks

The following are NOT Gray water Sources and should not be used:

  • Kitchen sink
  • Dishwasher
  • Toilets

Because of health risks recycled water and/or gray water is not approved or recommended for use on edible plants. Gray water should only be used on non-edible, ornamental landscapes.

Please check with the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) Division of Codes and Standards website for more information.

He who plants a garden plants happiness. If you want to be happy for a lifetime, plant a garden.
– Chinese Proverbs

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