You’re never too old to play in the dirt.
Thanks to generous donations, the Morris Park Senior Garden will be getting enough new dirt for gardeners to keep playing.
“Now we’ve got everything we need,” said Philip Ferron, the organizer of the senior garden. “The dirt is very important for us and it will improve the quality of our plants.”
Recently the Home Depot on East Gun Hill Road donated five bags of 10-10 fertilizer and 30 bags of top soil to the garden, which is tended by 10 Morris Park residents, ages 60 to 84.
The dirt will allow the garden, which was carved out of a weed-infested patch at the corner of Paulding and Sackett avenues about five years ago, to produce healthier vegetables and more of them, Ferron said.
“We will mix it all in there and it will really improve the quality of the dirt,” he said. “When the dirt is too dry and compressed it shows. When the rain comes it turns the ground like cement and it’s hard for anything to grow. But with good top soil, it’s fluffier so the roots can go down deep. When you have good top soil you can grow anything.”
The garden is divided into plots for each member. Currently, gardeners are raising a variety of fruits and vegetables such as lettuce, celery, parsley, basil, peppers, eggplant, rhubarb, string beans, squash, zucchini and even more exotic plants like the red-leafed radicchio.
Because of the dry summer, the soil this year was particularly bad and the recent harvest of the summer vegetables was a little disappointing, Ferron said.
“It didn’t rain for weeks and weeks, so the plants didn’t bloom the way they were supposed to,” he said. “The garden didn’t produce as much as normal.”
With the new top soil, Ferron said gardeners should be able to grow just about anything they want and reap large harvests.
The group recently made a list of needed supplies and sent it to the office of Senator Jeff Klein, who contacted the East Gun Hill Home Depot.
“Local gardens are a healthy and beautiful addition to our communities and gardening is a fantastic hobby for seniors to enjoy, as well as being great excise,” Klein said. “I am pleased we were able to help the Morris Park seniors obtain all that they needed to tend to their beautiful garden.”
Scott Seaman, manager of the Home Depot, said the store gives donations to small community gardens whenever they are approached.
“We try not to turn anybody down,” he said. “We were more than happy to make the donation.”
For Ferron, the new soil means a lot more than more vegetables in his diet.
“It’s very calming for the nerves,” he said. “It’s a lot of small work, like cleaning weeds or moving dirt around the plants, but it’s very relaxing.
“Some people go fishing, some go hunting. We do gardening.”