I read an inspiring post by Fern over at Life On The Balcony this week with some tips for how to enjoy container gardening with physical limitations. She covers some great ways of training your plants to suit your needs, reducing watering, and choosing tools to make gardening easier.
I remember years ago visiting a nursing home in San Francisco which featured a gorgeous raised-bed garden area for their residents. It was wonderful to see how the residents lit up with joy outside, planting flowers and veggies. The kitchen staff used the lettuce and other produce in their meals, and there were lovely homegrown bouquets cheering the desks and rooms.
Do you know someone who’d like to garden but finds it too difficult?
Check out Fern’s post above for how to get started with container gardening, or if you’d like to create an accessible garden area outdoors, keep these tips in mind:
- Paths should have a hard surface at least 3’ wide to allow wheelchair access.
- Raised beds should be around 2’ tall for wheelchair users and to reduce bending for those with Arthritis or other pains.
- Make sure that the center of each raised bed is easily reachable, so for wheelchair users, about 2’ is an ideal reach, 2.5’ for those who can stand. If your bed has pathways on both sides, you can double that depth.
- Seed tape is an easy way of starting plants in raised beds without having to fiddle with tiny seeds.
- Choose the lightest-weight tools possible, and look for wide handles or foam grips. Tie cord around the handles so they can be easily retrieved if dropped.
- Consider a simple drip irrigation system to eliminate watering; or, use mulch to prevent water loss.
Got an enabled gardener on your Christmas list? Check out these recommended tools:
Tub Trugs have ergonomic handles, sit open for easy disposal of weeds, and are lightweight and flexible enough that they can be used to pour fertilizers or water.
Natural Grip Trowels position your wrist at a natural angle and reduce hand stress, and their handles are easy to grip. There’s a weeder and cultivator, too.
Sure Grip Sports Gloves help those with Arthritis, missing fingers, or other accessibility issues grip tools firmly. If you have a favorite glove, they can make it into a Sure Grip, or they’ve got ready-made ones, too.
Atlas gloves are my favorite because they have a grippy surface that’s non-slip, protect my hands well, yet I can still feel what I’m doing in them. There are thin Nitrile-coated ones for working with seedlings or delicate annuals, and heavier-duty ones for transplanting or pruning. I just throw mine in the wash once a week and they come out good as new.
Yaktrax slip onto your shoes and prevent slipping in the snow or ice. If someone you care about often walks outdoors in the ice or snow, this can help alleviate worries that they’ll slip.
Want more information on gardening with a disability? Carry On Gardening is an awesome resource supported by a UK charity which helps people live richer lives through gardening.