Patricia Robitaille, 97, and Marielle St. Hillaire, 82, stood just outside a wire fence, watching kitchen manager Krista Enman pluck a zucchini from a vine.

“Oh, this is a good one,” Robitaille said. “You cut that in half and stuff it with hamburger and vegetables and you bake it. Oh, it would be so good.”

Montello Manor Administrator Kathy Atwood attended a meeting at Heritage Rehabilitation and Living Center in Winthrop where she noticed a garden planted and maintained by staff and residents.

“They have a real garden there; I mean acres and acres,” Atwood said. “I thought we would start off small and grow from there.”

Two years ago, the staff and residents of the Lewiston senior living facility put in a small garden and watched it grow. This year, they added a raised bed for easier access and more plants.

“I like to have something to do, instead of sit there in a chair,” said Katherine Talbot, 84, who had been gardening since she was 5 years old. “I like to keep my body and muscles moving.”

Fellow resident Lena Giles, 70, also farmed as a kid.

“I was brought up on a farm in Turner. My parents lived off the land,” she said.

Next year, Atwood wants to add another raised bed and maybe more space for the garden.

She thinks the activity has been a success. Not only do the residents grow the food, but the gardening regulars get to bake goodies like zucchini bread.

“We don’t get enough to feed all of the 80 residents, but I find the ones who are the most involved enjoy the fresh produce the most,” she said.


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