Gardening for Old Folks (Adaptative)

Discussion in 'Gardening' started by CapricornFarm, Dec 11, 2017.

  1. CapricornFarm

    CapricornFarm Tolbunt Queen

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    All BYC rules apply. Lets play nice. I am getting ready to celebrate another birthday. And it is getting harder for me to garden. There are ways to make things easier and still have good results. Let's talk about it!
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2017
  2. CapricornFarm

    CapricornFarm Tolbunt Queen

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    Once upon a time i was young. I could dig soil for hours, no problem. Double digging, mixing in sand and manure were easy. Rototillers could be wrestled and i could win. Now i am making raised beds and trying to do things the easy way. Hubby has health issues and so do i. But i love getting my hands dirty! Hoping to build a greenhouse, just got a book and am reading about how to do it. So i am sure i will discuss that as well. I plan to have benches i will build at a level convenient for me to tend plants. No planting on the ground inside.
     
  3. nminusyplusm

    nminusyplusm Crowing

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    Great thread idea and happy birthday, Capricorn! I'd love to hear more ideas on how to make gardening physically easier. So far I'm doing raised beds from 17" to 24" and keep an old shower chair outside to save my arthritic knees. Also using as much drip irrigation as possible...
     
  4. Sunshine Flock

    Sunshine Flock Crowing

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    I'm 47, but as of late I've been wrestling with chronic back pain and noticing how stiff and sore my legs are whenever I stand up from sitting on the floor. I'm planning garden beds to build before spring arrives and remembered modified beds a dear friend had made for her.

    She had Parkinson's and asked for tall beds with wide boards around the perimeter to use as a bench. The beds were three to four feet in height. I think she had soil placed inside them down to the ground, but I've read about beds that are designed on stands to reduce the amount of soil needed.

    Large farm style dinner tables are about the size of a garden bed. Three placed side by side with space between them would allow for a nice amount of veggies to be grown.

    And there's a gardening method called Hugelkultur that requires some work to build up the beds, but it's essentially mounded gardening. The food grows up and around the mounds, making it easier to reach, and it also requires much less watering. It's akin to growing a food jungle where compatible veggies are grown next to each other and clumped and you don't have to maintain neat and tidy rows.

    When I move to Idaho I'd like to build a greenhouse with the walls lined with shelves and a large island in the middle, so I can grow vegetables without having to bend over. Most veggies don't require deep rooting and would do well in beds on raised platforms.
     
  5. CapricornFarm

    CapricornFarm Tolbunt Queen

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    Yes, you are right... not only old folks have physical problems. Everyone is welcome to just jump in and yack.
    Sounds like we have a lot in common. Planning for a greenhouse and raised beds. I put raised beds in the front of the house here. I will not be changing them out a lot, perhaps seasonally. Right now i have a few bushes and spring bulbs in them. When we get the sidewalk poured i am going to add another layer of border stones to raise up the beds more. 20171205_140506.jpg 20171205_140527.jpg
     
  6. CapricornFarm

    CapricornFarm Tolbunt Queen

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    Thanks, my birthday is not until the 28th but i did get a present today and it holds 10 eggs! 20171211_122447.jpg
    Even having bad soil can make raised beds necessary. I put some in my new garden here in Virginia this year. Still i am digging up the soil inside the beds and adding composted manure and sand to the clay based soil. I only plan to do that once. I was not able to spend much time on the garden because i was building chicken coops. This year will be different.
    You might be interested in straw bale gardens. They could even grow on a raised platform.
     
  7. Sunshine Flock

    Sunshine Flock Crowing

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    I love those photos!

    Just two or three more rows of stacked pavers and you'll have an accessible bed. You can sit in on a walker if you use one to reach the soil. It's movement that requires using my hands out in front of me that can cause pain, even when I'm doing lots of yoga and not experiencing back problems. So beds that aren't too deep front to back, or that are accessible all the way around would be helpful.

    I have arthritis in two fingers. That's a fun one in my 40s, geesh. The tools I use make a difference in my hand strength and comfort. You can cut wood handles down to a length that works well with specially raised beds. That should help, too.
     
  8. Sunshine Flock

    Sunshine Flock Crowing

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    Straw bale, thanks for the reminder. That's a great idea. I know you can actually open a hole in the surface on top and follow a few easy steps to compost inside them and then plant directly in the bales. Two stacked on top of each other could be a nice height.

    But bales as walls for beds is something I'd like to look into more.
     
  9. microchick

    microchick Crossing the Road

    A minister's wife once told me, "what don't hurt, don't work." She was about ten years younger than my 64 years at the time, I was in my mid thirties.......now I know what she was talking about.

    Like mentioned but others, I too have the back problems, knee problems, foot problems, joint problems, blah blah blah. I will be seeing a rheumatologist in the future for suspected RA or some other rheumatic type of arthritis but besides the problems I have with kneeling for too long or standing for too long...oh, don't forget, bending too much, I am loosing fine motor function in both hands making using gardening tools a bit of a pain.

    This coming spring, I am downsizing the number of plants I plant in my garden. DH is great at helping me but I will probably just be planting potatoes, onions and various squash. and then mulching the devil out of every thing to control weeds so I don't have to do so much hoeing.

    This year I went to planters for my annual flowers and tubers like cannas and elephant ears, and will continue that trend this next spring. I am also moving my strawberries to a barrel planter but will let extras root in a small ground bed around the barrel planter.

    My big challenge will be in adapting my smaller gardening tools to my hands. I'm thinking pool noodles cut in sections split and glued to my tool handles. It should help me grip them better and with less discomfort. I know they make built up implements for RA suffers. Guess it's time to apply some of what I've learned for my own use.
     
  10. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Making Coffee

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    After my first knee replacement last year we converted my free formed raised beds into really raised beds. They were so easy to garden in.

    IMG_20170625_153757.jpg

    My cucumbers were grown on a cattle panel arch for extra easy picking.

    IMG_20170710_141542.jpg
     

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