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Growing a Garden at Manassas Senior Center

Provided by Prince William County

The all-organic and sustainability garden behind the Manassas Senior Center is full of life and color, including different shades of purples, greens and reds. While the garden is pretty to look at, it is also put to good use by the center.

Len Postman is the volunteer who planted and oversees the garden. She said the garden produces all kinds of vegetables; and when the vegetables are ready, Postman picks them and gives them to the kitchen where they’re prepared.

“What’s lovely about it is that it’s all organic,” said Bonnie Swank, the lead cook at Manassas Senior Center. “It’s approved by the Health Department. So, we can actually use the produce that we grow to serve to our seniors that come to visit and also to our seniors that we have for our Meals on Wheels program.”

The garden, tended by Postman and a few gardening helpers, produces various lettuces, chard, green beans, peppers, squash, zucchini, turnips, greens, onions, peas, herbs, eggplant, carrots, cucumbers and radishes.

“They love it,” Postman said of the folks at the senior center who are the recipients of the fresh vegetables. “When they use the vegetables to make a meal, they’ll say, ‘I knew it came from the garden.'”

Postman said the vegetables ripen “in their season,” so the garden produces vegetables from spring to fall.

Swank said that the garden sometimes produces more than the kitchen can use. She recently prepared roasted turnips from the garden with the greens that were leftover. “The greens we actually put out for people to take home.”

Swank said she thinks it’s fortunate for the kitchen at the senior center to have a garden out back “We’re able to bring fresh produce to them,” she said of the senior center patrons.

Imogene Flowers, who regularly visits the senior center, said she likes it when the vegetables make it into the center’s meals. “They’re delicious – nice and fresh.”

For more information about the senior centers, visit pwcgov.org/seniorcenters.

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