Closeup on the hands of a man standing in a greenhouse and carrying a wooden box full of fresh vegetables

Gardening is a rewarding hobby that can improve your health, keep you active, and fill your table with fresh produce.

When retirees consider moving to an active adult community, they often worry that they'll be giving up their home gardens along with their big backyards. However, gardening is a popular pastime among many active adults, and it's supported in age-restricted communities across the country. Through community gardens, resident gardeners can indulge their passion even after downsizing from their family home.

The Benefits of Gardening

A senior woman wearing a sun hat and kneeling near the raised plant beds in her vegetable garden

Being outside in the fresh air and sunshine is a great way to distress and boost your mood.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just 150 minutes (or 2.5 hours) of moderate activity each week can reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and other health issues. While gardening may not seem like exercise, you can certainly break a little bit of a sweat while tilling soil, pulling weeds, or repotting plants. Also, being outside in the fresh air and sunshine is a great way to distress and boost your mood.

Gardening is a hobby that yields more than just healthy food. It's a way for retirees to connect neighbors and reconnect with nature. Through gardening groups and clubs, active adults can meet new friends and swap personal gardening tips. Also, bringing in a good harvest comes with a surprising sense of accomplishment.

Gardening For Beginners

Closeup on the feet of a gardener using a hoe to till the soil near a row of plants

If you're new to gardening, it's best to begin with simple, hearty plants like herbs and greens.

If you're new to gardening, it's best to begin with simple, hearty plants like herbs and greens. if you enjoy lettuce, kale, or collards, those are excellent options for testing out your green thumb. If you're a fan of fresh herbs in your food, trying planting some basil, chives, or parsley. These herbs grow rather quickly, and you can always dry the excess for later use.

When gardening, be sure to wear loose-fitting clothes that offer moderate protection from the sun (and you don't mind getting dirty). Also, be sure to wear sunscreen; time flies when your gardening, and it can be difficult to notice when your skin is beginning to burn. Spraying on a bit of bug repellent before heading into the garden also doesn't hurt.

55+ Communities With Community Gardens

An older woman smiling at an older man carrying a wooden box of vegetables harvested from the community garden

Many active adults offer community gardens where residents can grow their own fruits and vegetables.

While active adult communities may have some restrictions about planting crops on individual homesites, many offer community gardens where residents can grow their own fruits and vegetables. They also support this healthy hobby with gardening clubs and events like local farmers markets. By participating in these activities, community residents can easily learn from each other while sharing their love of gardening.

Community gardens are not available in all active adult communities, but they can be found in several developments across the country. At Ceres Gleann in Oregon, residents cultivate fruits and vegetables in their own community garden plots. In Delaware’s brand new Four Seasons at Silver Maple, the Victory Garden encourages resident gardeners to reserve a space to grow their own produce. At the Retreat at Greenbrier in Virginia, residents can maintain a plot in the community garden, which is colorfully known as the Garden Quilt.

Residents can also indulge their green thumbs through the community gardens in developments like Regency at Monroe in New Jersey and Sun City Center in Florida. Also. garden clubs are found in active adult communities across the country. They're a popular pastime in large, sprawling developments like On Top of the World in Ocala, Florida; in mid-sized communities like Del Webb Charleston in Summerville, South Carolina; and in smaller neighborhoods like Windsor Hills in The Woodlands, Texas.

If gardening is an important part of your lifestyle, be sure to find out the rules of potential active adult communities before buying a home. While there may be restrictions or limitations in some developments, active adult communities that have their own community gardens let resident gardeners continue their hobby even after downsizing to a home with little to no yard of their own.