Special needs tips – Getting around in your garden!
by Linda Jenkinson
When I was young, it seemed I could spend hours at a time in the garden planting and tending beds and borders. Getting up to catch a wandering child, to unwind a tangled dog's leash, or just to take a break was easy. As the years go by, the concrete beneath my foam-rubber kneepads irritates my aging bones and my old joints sometimes creak in complaint as I try to straighten them into a standing position. Luckily, though, many gardening alternatives are available to help both seniors and other physically challenged individuals stay in the garden!
Don't try to adjust to the tool. – Adjust the tool to you!
- Paint your gardening tool handles a bright color so you can easily spot them when you've set them down.
- Improve your grip. Use colorful electrician's or bicycle tape to add foam padding to hard-to-hold gardening tool handles.
- Go for the lightweight. Tools don't have to be heavy to be sturdy. Aluminum handled and fiberglass reinforced nylon tools are both strong and lightweight.
- Consider handle extenders for short tools.
- Replace old and broken garden tools and tool handles with ergonomically correct models.
Tips for Alternative Gardening Spaces
- Do make a mountain out of a molehill. Create some raised beds in your garden at a height and width that allows you to work comfortably. Besides being at a reasonable level, a raised bed garden provides excellent drainage for your plants. Wide-bordered beds provide the additional advantage of a place to sit as you work in your garden.
- Keep your garden on the up and up. Try gardening on the vertical. Plants grown on trellises, walls and fences are easier to see and eliminate much of the need to stoop and bend during both cultivation and harvest. An added bonus – vertically grown plants take up less room than ground-grown plants. You'll be able to maintain a lot more plants while covering less ground with a lot less effort!
- Put your tiger lily in a tank! If you can plant it in the ground, you can also grow it in a container. Container gardening offers easy accessibility, higher visibility, and additionally adds eye-appeal to your patio, porch, or deck.
- Make plant care easier. Put larger or heavier plants on wheels and hanging plants on pulleys for easy maintenance.
- Keep extra plant containers within reach. Stack extras on a plant rack or organize them on a potting bench or table.