Have you ever put in a garden? If so, you soon realized that the tasks associated with a garden can be somewhat backbreaking. From loading soil to kneeling to scouting for insects and diseases, daily physical input for garden upkeep is needed.
My clients often report that, due to a physical limitation or an injury, they are not able to grow vegetables nor have an abundance of gorgeous flowers as they would hope to have. I encourage them to plan carefully and think outside the box.
The layout is vital for your garden to work correctly, allowing for your specific needs. Wheelchair accessible paths, and smooth, non-skid surfaces are just some of the critical things to consider when garden planning. Whatever your limitation, you can design the layout beforehand to make gardening a more enjoyable experience.
In my time as an Extension Agent, I have seen many great ideas. “Salad table” grow carts can be easily accessed by wheelchair or just at a height where you can still garden without having to bend over. A simple change like making a raised bed higher could mean someone could finally start gardening year-around. Those gorgeous flowers you want may grow in pots instead of the ground. Arranged attractively, they can make your yard a showplace. Also, sensory gardens for the visually impaired have textures and smells to enhance the overall experience for them. I have seen these installed in parks and at hospitals, letting the whole community enjoy them.
When considering height, we also must think about the overall design. A garden bed sized to reach across for easy picking means less movement around the bed, making things much easier for a person with an injury or physical challenge.
There are many aspects of gardening. From planting to watering, every element must be thought out. It might not be feasible for one to go out every day and move a water hose or sprinkler to water a garden. Many tools are available to help, such as drip irrigation and inexpensive systems can be set on timers and personalized to any garden design.
Many ergonomic products exist on the market now to help make a gardener’s life a little bit easier. Although not every labor-intensive task can be eliminated, accommodations can be created to give everyone the joy and therapeutic benefits of gardening.
If this is a topic you would like to explore further, please feel free to call the Mobile County Extension Office (251-574-8445) to set up a meeting so we can discuss specific details about how to make your gardening journey more accessible and more enjoyable.
Become a Master Gardener:
What: Sign up for the 2020 Mobile County Master Gardener class
Deadline: June 5, 2020
When: Wednesdays, 9 am to 2:30 pm, August 12 – Nov 11, 2020
Where: Mobile County Cooperative Extension Office, 1070 Schillinger Rd N, Mobile
For More information: Call 251-574-8445 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.mobilecountymastergardeners.org
Solace of the Garden During COVID 19
What: Charles Wood Japanese Garden (walking trail #1)
When: Daylight hours, no fee
Where: 700 Forest Hill Drive, Mobile 36608
What: Plantasia Spring Plant Sale 2020
When: Buy the best plants and practice social distancing.
How: Go to www.MBGrebloomshop.com to shop online
Place your order and select a pick-up time.
What: Walking the trails of the Longleaf Forest at MBG
When: Dawn to Dusk daily, no fee
Where: Mobile Botanical Gardens, 5151 Museum Dr, Mobile