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Don't Let Disability Keep You From The Gardening You Love!

Updated on November 10, 2014
SheilaSchnauzies profile image

SheilaSchnauzies is a Miniature Schnauzer rescuer, writer, crochet designer, gardener, crafter, wife, mom & friend living in Omaha, NE.

OK... So Maybe You Can't Garden Like You Used To...

But you can still enjoy growing things, just in different ways!

Do you still drool over seed catalogs each Spring? Do you long for growing some new flowers and vegetables? But the pain stops you... you sigh and put the seed catalog away. Sound familiar? It's the usual story of the gardener who has been hit with a medical condition that keeps you away from playing in the dirt. I share the same story.

My back was ruined many years ago by one too many failed back surgeries. Gardening in the traditional ways is very difficult for me. I think planting rows of seeds in a flower bed is the worst, followed closely by lugging a very heavy 100 foot garden hose around our one acre yard two or three times a week! The idea is daunting, to say the least.

Over the years I have learned some easier ways to garden. We'll explore the things that have helped me. I'll share my best disabled gardening tips and I'll show you the special products I use to make my gardening from a wishful dream to blooming reality!

So dust off those gardening gloves, you're going to need them!

What You Will Need...

Annual and Perennial Seeds & Plants Of Your Favorite Flowers

Seeds & Plants - Annual and Perennial - Of Your Favorite Veggies

Lightweight shovel that fits your height and feels good in your hands

36" Long Reacher Device

Protective Gloves

A chair or bench adjacent your garden for frequent rest breaks

Hat and sunglasses for sun protection

Pocket Hose for watering

Supplies of potting soil, peat moss, sand, etc.

Containers of any shape in a size you can handle, filled with soil

"Lasagna" gardening materials - peat moss, grass clippings, old newspapers or other non-shiny paper; raked up leaves, chicken manure, straw, food scraps that are not meat nor dairy.

And Now For Something Completely Different!

A New Way Of Thinking...

You know, it's a lot of backbreaking work planting one of those traditional vegetable gardens! You have to work the soil until it's nice and fine. You have to get rid of all of the weeds. Then you have to dig your rows, plant the seeds, cover them up, tamp them down... it can be exhausting!

This year let's try a different way of thinking! Take your green beans, for example. Do you have a tree in your yard that gets at least six hours of sun per day? Let's make a little lasagna bed around the tree, as far out as you want it from the trunk.

Start by laying newspapers or other non-shiny paper in a circle around the base of the tree. Soak it down thoroughly. Put about 6" of raked leaves on top of the paper. Put another layer of paper on top of the leaves and water it down heavily. Continue your "lasagna" bed with about six inches of grass clippings and another layer of paper. Water again. For your final layer, dump about six inches of peat moss on top of everything. Hey, what happened? All of a sudden it looks nice! Water, water, water. Water some more.

When your layers are completely soaked, it's time for the fun! Take your green bean seeds and just poke them down about an inch or so deep into the peat moss layer. Plant them as far apart as you normally would. If you want, you can use your reacher to poke the hole and even place the green bean seed into it!

You get the idea. Think of non-traditional places where you could add a little lasagna garden. You'll have it done in way less than an hour if you don't get too tired. If you have to stop and rest, or even come back another day, your lasagna garden isn't going anywhere!

After several months, your new lasagna garden will transform into the prettiest soil you've ever seen.

Here is a little lasagna bed I made to contain my new Chocolate Mimosa tree last year.

Location, Location, Location! - Think Of Interesting Places To Grow!

Try to find spaces on your property where you can work at just below waist height, which is the easiest on your body.

Example, in this picture you see my stairway garden. I can work at least half of the garden standing up. On the back half I plant only things that require no attention, like my clematis vine on the trellis and lots of Iris. I throw Preen weed preventer & feeder on everything about every 2-3 months during the growing season, which eliminates weeding.

if you have a raised flower bed with a border wall already, place container boxes all along the wall to increase your growing space.

Try growing veggies and flowers in 5-gallon buckets! You can move them around if you need to on your little red wagon!

Hanging baskets are another great way to add to your growing space. Hang them from tree limbs, or any available space you can find.

Don't overlook your downspouts! Plant vining vegetables such as pole beans at the botom of your downspout and train the vine to go up on it. Or plant a nice Clematis, a perennial you'll never have to replant!

Do you have some of those upside-down tomato growing things? Use them for more than tomatoes! While you have your tomato, pepper or other plants tucked into the side holes, use the covered center as a mini-greenhouse to start special seeds. It works fantastically for that!

Do you have flower beds around trees where you normally tuck in bedding plants? Try growing a few veggies in between the flowers. Use a trellis for tall veggies or tie them to the tree trunk as they grow.

Youngstown Glove 05-3800-20-S Women's Garden Glove, Performance Glove, Small, Pink
Youngstown Glove 05-3800-20-S Women's Garden Glove, Performance Glove, Small, Pink

Very, very important to protect your hands! I like mesh gloves because they breathe and wash off nicely.;

 

The Little Red Wagon Your Kids Deserted...

is your best friend! If you can find one anywhere, pick it up! Haul your plants, garden tools, just about anything in it.

The pull wagons have a lot of room but you can increase the capacity even more by placing a small Rubbermaid inside it.

My wagon is a lifesaver when I'm planting seeds, transplanting plants, or just about anything else I find myself carrying around.

Fiskars 26 Inch Veranda 3 Gallon Rectangular Planter, Color Cement (57726)
Fiskars 26 Inch Veranda 3 Gallon Rectangular Planter, Color Cement (57726)

Just a great little planter box. Line a bunch of them along a sidewalk or your driveway to create an instant gardening space!

 

One of My Favorite Container Gardens!

One of My Favorite Container Gardens!
One of My Favorite Container Gardens!

A Word About Protecting Plants When You Need To Quit!

Sometimes we bite off more than we can chew! Those daylilies you dug up to transplant are still needing to be planted and you're woofed! Keep a big bucket or Rubbermaid, filled with water in a permanent shady spot. Set all your transplants down in the water. They'll be safe for several days!

Some Of My Efforts!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Roses, blackberries, grapes, and raspberries growing happily together!A garden done in Lasagna and filled entirely with bulbs and perennial plants. Work once, enjoy many!My last "traditional" veggie garden, years ago, just cleaned outOne of my beloved hosta beds. Hostas are perennial so they are also "work once, enjoy many." This one's growing under a crabapple tree.A fun flower bed with perennial Hardy Hibiscus and annual Castor Bean plants.A butterfly on one of my butterfly bushes.Moon Plant is an interesting plant that blooms huge white flowers at night.At my old home, a brand new bed by the driveway done in lasagna method with all perennials.My favorite garden at my old home. We took out a Cottonwood that blew over in a storm. I planted a Cisterna Plum tree, several tea roses, tons of spring bulbs, Iris, Baby's Breath and lots of other perennials. It was my pride and joy.I've always enjoyed growing things in containers.I lined my stairs and the front of my house with hosta and other perennials.Some of my favorite containers from last summer.
Roses, blackberries, grapes, and raspberries growing happily together!
Roses, blackberries, grapes, and raspberries growing happily together!
A garden done in Lasagna and filled entirely with bulbs and perennial plants. Work once, enjoy many!
A garden done in Lasagna and filled entirely with bulbs and perennial plants. Work once, enjoy many!
My last "traditional" veggie garden, years ago, just cleaned out
My last "traditional" veggie garden, years ago, just cleaned out
One of my beloved hosta beds. Hostas are perennial so they are also "work once, enjoy many." This one's growing under a crabapple tree.
One of my beloved hosta beds. Hostas are perennial so they are also "work once, enjoy many." This one's growing under a crabapple tree.
A fun flower bed with perennial Hardy Hibiscus and annual Castor Bean plants.
A fun flower bed with perennial Hardy Hibiscus and annual Castor Bean plants.
A butterfly on one of my butterfly bushes.
A butterfly on one of my butterfly bushes.
Moon Plant is an interesting plant that blooms huge white flowers at night.
Moon Plant is an interesting plant that blooms huge white flowers at night.
At my old home, a brand new bed by the driveway done in lasagna method with all perennials.
At my old home, a brand new bed by the driveway done in lasagna method with all perennials.
My favorite garden at my old home. We took out a Cottonwood that blew over in a storm. I planted a Cisterna Plum tree, several tea roses, tons of spring bulbs, Iris, Baby's Breath and lots of other perennials. It was my pride and joy.
My favorite garden at my old home. We took out a Cottonwood that blew over in a storm. I planted a Cisterna Plum tree, several tea roses, tons of spring bulbs, Iris, Baby's Breath and lots of other perennials. It was my pride and joy.
I've always enjoyed growing things in containers.
I've always enjoyed growing things in containers.
I lined my stairs and the front of my house with hosta and other perennials.
I lined my stairs and the front of my house with hosta and other perennials.
Some of my favorite containers from last summer.
Some of my favorite containers from last summer.
Fiskars 3 Piece Softouch Garden Tool Set (7067)
Fiskars 3 Piece Softouch Garden Tool Set (7067)

Grip handle tools are a lifesaver, and Fiskars is the best there is.

 

Learn How To Lasagna Garden On YouTube!

"Crochet thread is the ink with which I will sign my life." –SheilaSchnauzies

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Happy To Be A Lifetime Member of The National Gardening Club!
Happy To Be A Lifetime Member of The National Gardening Club!

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