PSU gardeners grow relationships at Quincy Village

April 18, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH |
  • Penn State Mont Alto students, from left, Mike Harbart, Andrew Teets and Adam Wentzel build a planting bed at Quincy Village in Quincy, Pa.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

QUINCY, Pa. — Penn State Mont Alto students dug in the dirt Wednesday as part of a service project designed to plant the seeds of intergenerational relationships.

The college’s students and staff started meeting with Quincy Village residents a year ago to talk about creating raised gardens at the retirement village.

On Wednesday afternoon, forestry and physical therapy students put those plans into action to create a 22-inch high planting bed and 31-inch high planting bed. The lower one is designed for wheelchair-bound gardeners and the higher one for people with trouble kneeling or stooping for traditional planting.

“I was actually surprised to see the impact it will have on the whole community,” said Susan Tome, a York, Pa., resident enrolled in Penn State Mont Alto’s physical therapist assistant program.

Not only will gardeners benefit from new planting beds, but the produce is made available to other Quincy Village residents, Tome said.

Ruth “Ruthie” Good, formerly of Marion, Pa., moved to Quincy Village earlier this year.

“That’s one of the reasons I chose to come here — because they have such a nice garden,” Good said.

Interest in the garden club is increasing because of the new raised beds, she said.

Physical therapy student Paige Yocum, of Spring Run, Pa., said she was surprised by the interest shown by community members after the idea was originally explained.

Penn State Mont Alto professor Renee Borromeo said about six additional people have recently become involved in the garden club.

“It’s things like that we like to hear,” she said.
Borromeo said a pervious service project involved a raised garden bed for children, but she wanted to develop one for senior citizens.

Some students participating in the service project took measurements and talked to Quincy Village residents about problems like hip and back pain. Others handled the wood and design details.

“The residents gave us feedback. They’re master gardeners, some of them,” Borromeo said.

Occupational therapy students are creating “pizza pots” for patios at Quincy Village, Borromeo said. Those planters will have herbs traditionally found on pizza, she said.

“It’s kind of cool we had the three disciplines together that wouldn’t necessarily come together otherwise,” Borromeo said of physical therapy, forestry and occupational therapy.

Borromeo said the raised beds, which received a lining, will likely have fewer weeds and pests like rabbits because of the added height. She did express some concerns about deer using the raised gardens as a salad bar.

Good oversaw development of raised gardens elsewhere. She provided suggestions for soil types and the varieties of plants that fare well, including broccoli, onions, carrots, cucumbers and green beans.

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