Intergenerational gardening keeps you active - Retirement Net by National Gardening Association

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Intergenerational gardening keeps you active

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Working in the garden together can help kids grow and help you stay younger

Posted Feb 12, 2009

Gardening is an activity you can enjoy from childhood through retirement. While your gardening style may change over time, your love of gardening and plants probably won't. Sharing your wealth of knowledge and skills with young people is a great way to stay active and engaged while making a vital connection with young people.

"Intergenerational gardening has other benefits, too," says Charlie Nardozzi, NGA's senior horticulturalist. "Young people learn how to grow their own food and flowers — a lifelong gift they can use to improve their quality of life at home and in the community." Adds Mike Metallo, NGA president, "Young people glean wisdom from their elders and older gardeners get physical assistance that may keep them active longer. Everyone involved grows' valuable relationships as well as vegetables. Intergenerational gardening is a win-win activity for everyone!"

Here are some tips for creating and maintaining an intergenerational garden at home or in a public space such as a community garden.

Choose plants together—Empower your young friends by inviting them to choose plants they'd like to grow.

Develop a stockpile of fun ideas—Always have an engaging activity or two in mind on garden workdays, so the entire time isn't spent on chores like weeding.

Eat from the garden—Harvesting fresh vegetables is pure joy for kids. Be sure your young friends are there for the first tomato harvest and when it's time to dig the potatoes. Consider hosting a garden lunch or dinner that features the vegetables you grew and harvested together and invite your gardening friends to help prepare the meal.

For more information, contact Charlie Nardozzi, National Gardening Association, (800) 538-7476, ext. 105.


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