Seniors tend their gardens at the Senior Community Garden last summer.

Seniors tend their gardens at the Senior Community Garden last summer.

Photo provided by the Troy Parks and Recreation Department


Seniors get grounded at Community Garden in Troy

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published April 16, 2019

 Garden plots are available for people 50 and older at the Troy Farm, located at Beach Road and South Boulevard.

Garden plots are available for people 50 and older at the Troy Farm, located at Beach Road and South Boulevard.

Photo provided by the Troy Parks and Recreation Department

Advertisement

TROY — Troy resident and master gardener Craig Smith, whose garden has been featured on the Troy Garden Club Garden Walk, has a lot of shade in his yard.

“I can’t grow many vegetables,” he said.

So for the first time last year, he rented a plot in the Senior Community Garden at the Troy Farm, located near the Stage Nature Center, and he also served as a garden leader.

City Recreation Supervisor Nikki McEachern said in an email that the Senior Community Garden is “a perfect place for seniors to interact with nature and other people. Some seniors use the gardens as a form of low-impact exercise,” she said. “Others grow their own food to get the freshest, most nutritious fruits and vegetables available. Still others grow their own food as a way to reduce their environmental impact. At Troy Recreation, we offer the Senior Community Garden program to increase quality of life for our residents.”

Smith explained that the city stocks compost, hoses, wheelbarrows, shovels and rakes for the garden in the Troy Farm barn. Each garden plot or raised bed comes equipped with a water spigot.

Smith said that if he or someone else sees a senior struggling to complete a task, “We’ll help out and pitch in for those with physical liabilities. Everybody kind of looks out for each other. It’s an enjoyable gardening experience for the seniors.”

Smith added that they hold a question-and-answer session at 11 a.m. Fridays during the gardening season.

“We (garden leaders) try to give them (other gardeners) answers in a smart, gardening way, and how to fix what’s ailing their garden and do it organically,” Smith said. “We exchange ideas.”

He said that while many people grow the tomatoes and green beans you would expect, Asian and Indian seniors grow bok choy and long beans native to their countries of origin. “It’s an educational experience for everybody,” he said.

McEachern said the Senior Community Garden was started at the Troy Farm in 1980.

In 2018, about $25,000 in capital improvements were made to the site:

• Rebuilt 4-by-12-foot raised beds.

• New irrigation piping throughout.

• A new shed.

• Repaired fencing.

• A graded parking area, addressing standing water issues.

• A cleaned-up compost area.

• 20% more plots to meet a growing demand.

There are a total of nine raised beds and 96 20-by-20-foot ground plots.

The Troy Recreation Department is seeking new gardeners for the Senior Community Garden. Garden plots are available for people 50 and older at the Troy Farm, located at Beach Road and South Boulevard. There is a limit of one per household, and the plot must be tended by the applying senior.

Plots cost $70 for residents and $80 for nonresidents.

The garden season runs May 1-Oct. 31. Tilling and water access are included. There are no refunds after May 1.

People can  register at rec.troy mi.gov/registration, or in person 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Fridays and 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturdays at the Troy Community Center, 3179 Livernois Road.

For more information, contact Nikki McEachern at Nikki.McEachern@troymi.gov or at (248) 524-3408.

Advertisement