Local boomers use gardening to stay social, healthy


Jackie Musiol works on her rented garden, which is part of a raised garden plot at Satellite Beach’s community garden at DeSoto Park.


<i> SENIOR LIFE CORY DAVIS <i/>  Gardens can effectively grow a variety of vegetables, flowers and herbs.Staying active while aging can improve longevity and quality of life. For some seniors, that means keeping up social activities or a fitness regimen. For senior gardeners, both the social and fitness aspects are possible.

A Kansas State University study found that gardening for older adults led to a wealth of benefits, from improved flexibility to calorie burning to higher-hand function and a better grip. The study concluded that seniors who gardened tended to live a more physically active lifestyle and have more satisfaction in life.

Jackie Musiol of Satellite Beach has been a gardener for decades and it is an activity she’s been able to pursue in variations through the years.

Musiol is one of 20 Brevardians who rent raised garden plots at Satellite Beach’s community garden. Less than a year old, the initiative is part of the city’s sustainability action plan to connect residents with the environment.

“Up north, I gardened all the time and actually managed three garden centers. This garden has been such an excellent opportunity to get back to that,” said Musiol, who originally is from New England.

Her plot houses tomatoes, beets, carrots and herbs. She also has an assortment of palm trees and baskets of flowers surrounding her space.

“It keeps me busy and happy,” she said.

Satellite Beach’s Environmental Program coordinator Nick Sanzone says that the community garden was built with all age groups in mind, including senior citizens and children.

“We built the beds two feet off the ground so no one has to bend too far down. We wanted to make gardening accessible to all,” Sanzone said.

The rental period for the beds is one year and then a new group of planters takes over. The gardeners pay $50 per year for the space and have freedom with what they plant, as long as no pesticides are used.