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Oak Ridge Manor has community garden for its residents

by Jane Lightbourn Staff writer

Even though the new white picket fence is made of modern, more durable material, it still brings the same park-like charm to the Oak Ridge Manor building.

About 10 Oak Ridge Manor residents have their own garden plots in the fenced-in area. They are obviously doing something right (with the help of Mother Nature) - the vegetables and flowers are thriving.

Oak Ridge Manor has offered its residents gardening opportunities for about the past seven years. Several years ago, Hastings High School students built raised beds for residents who have some mobility problems.

The garden has been a hit. Most of the 10 gardeners this year have done it in previous years and enjoy it.

The most popular crop?  “Tomatoes” was the response.

Some vegetables have already been harvested, including turnips, lettuce and beets.

The gardens are well-kept, but it is a constant struggle.

“We grow weeds almost as well as the vegetables,” said one resident.

“There is something about fresh vegetables,” said another resident. “The store ones just don’t compare.”

“Plus, we have a sense of accomplishment,” said a resident. “And of course there can be that sense of failure.”

Building manager Al Risberg said the fence was added this spring.

“It is designed to thwart the numerous bunny rabbits that romp across the lawns looking for treats,” he said.

While the gardeners enjoy the fruits of their effort, they also share with other residents in the building. A table in the community room is designated for that purpose. “Why let it go to waste?” asked one.