Any others garden with disabilities?Looking for tips!

debbiep_gwFebruary 16, 2011

Hi,I'm looking for any advice/ tips anyone can offer for gardening with disabilities.I have RA and was diagnosed fall 09.I've been going downhill it seems since then.I do plan to prevail as gardening is my life but a few tips to make it easier will help.I can no longer get on the ground,I can get down with the best of them but I won't be getting back up.A cart to sit on is out of the question for me.As gardeners know everyone needs to crawl around on the ground to weed occasionally.I can no longer use a shovel to dig a hole if it needs to be a hole that is somewhat big.I can use a shovel to scoop out a hole for my seedlings though.I just can't use my feet on the shovel.I have to be careful with my arms,hands and feet right now.As of now my feet/legs aren't working to well but I am doing physical therapy.

Container gardening is a thought but I want to put that off as long as I can.I have established flower beds so thats a big help in itself.Tips anyone?

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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

Container gardening is a thought but I want to put that off as long as I can.
After looking at your trade lists, it is kind of hard to tell what sort of a gardener you are. I know you grow flowers, but do you also grow veggies?

If growing veggies, folks at the Square Foot Gardening Forum may have some hints and tips, like trellising and growing some things vertically. Do you have anyone to help you with such things as trellises, or fencing?

I certainly wish you well with your physical therapy.

You might want to also check out the Vertical Gardening Forum. Though it is a quite slow forum, you may be able to glean some good info from some of the posts there.


    Bookmark   February 16, 2011 at 11:41AM
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I'm mostly a flower gardener.I don't have the knack for growing vegetables I guess you could say.I'll have the tomatos and peppers.I'll look over at the froums you mentioned.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2011 at 1:07PM
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Hi Debbie,
In 2002 I contracted lyme disease and shortly after the auto immune fun started. RA and all the other assorted diagnosis. I turn 50 in a few days and havent worked in nearly 3 years. Sometimes life just doesnt seem fair and then I look out at the garden and realize how much I have.
My gardening ventures may not be as ambitious as they once were and everything takes longer but it still gives me the same joy :)

Making gardening a bit easier has come in stages and I'm sure as my ability decreases over the years I'll make more modifications. I fully understand about not being able to get down on the ground to plant, weed, etc. Now I use a long handled bulb planter to make small holes. I found a short shovel (about 3 feet total) with a small blade that is very light weight since a normal sized one is not possible. I've seem these short shovels at a local garden center that have a padded circular handle which I'm sure I'll need in the future.
I also tried the cart to sit on to weed and found it too painful. So what I finally put my energy into was... minimize the weeds. After planting, I put down a thick layer of newspaper and then add grass clippings. Each time we mow, more clippings go down. I havent had to spend nearly as much energy on weeds since starting this. I should say that this is what I do in the veggie garden. The flower beds get a thick layer of cyprus mulch and a sprinkle of Preen each spring. This year I plan to try cardboard instead of newspaper for the veggies and see how that works.
Last year my sweetie put in 2 raised beds for shorter veggies. They made a HUGE difference. He made them 12 inches high and filled them to the top. On each corner he placed a 4x4 inch post that sticks up several inches above the raised bed (driven down into the ground more than a foot so its sturdy). This gives me a place to hold on to when I lean over. It also makes a nice place to rest a basket when harvesting veggies :)
I'm sure there are other examples but this is a bit of what I've done to help keep garding a joy in my life.

Good luck with your therapy and ~happy gardening~

    Bookmark   February 18, 2011 at 1:57AM
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I find that elevated beds are the easiest to work in but aren't an option for many types of plantings. I use a garden seat caddy which I love. It can't be used everywhere but where it can be used it works great. Why wouldn't you want to use one? A couple pain killers before and/or after working in the yard also helps ; ) Check out some of these sites or do a search for "gardening for people with disabilities":

Good luck with your PT

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 7:04AM
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Hi Debbie :')
i read that cherry juice and cherries help with that (my mil has it) also that apple cider vinegar does too. i looked up the home remedies for it a while back for her. i'm into home remedies vs the other stuff. LOL we use the sq ft method. and when using that, you don't have all the weeds, also your beds are a little higher, but some of the people do raise their beds much higher than the 12 or so inches! LOL we need to do that this year!! LOL we'll keep you in our prayers!! have you ever heard of biofreeze? i have been hearing/reading that that stuff really helps with pain, i have been checking on stuff since my hubs got hurt at work (for back pain) and they say it really helps. his biological mother says it helps her. Hope any of that helps :')

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 2:27PM
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Michele glad to see you. I emailed Sue the other day asking if she knew why you hadn't been posting. I'm happy to hear that you were just busy with life.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 8:07AM
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grovespirit(Zone 9)

I am in this same boat too: RA, and other mobility related issues- too many to list, some similar to Nancy Plants.
All the tips posted here have been good ones! My favorite is probably weed prevention via Preen, newspaper, cardboard, and mulch. I also 'lasagna garden' much more than I used to.

And I no longer dig. I either will grow stuff in raised SFG style beds or in containers, or dear Hubby does the digging for me! :)

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 10:03PM
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