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Gardening for the Disabled/Handicapped Gardener — The Grow Network Community
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Gardening for the Disabled/Handicapped Gardener

lynnlassiter50lynnlassiter50 Posts: 7
edited September 2018 in DIY Tutorials
I have several handicapped clients who garden in raised beds that were constructed to be at the level they are comfortable for a given length of time (if in a wheelchair or simply not mobile enough to bend down and get up repeatedly)
You obviously have some more tricks up your master gardener sleeves :) please do share :)

Heather

Comments

  • lynnlassiter50lynnlassiter50 Posts: 7
    edited September 2018
    Raised beds, especially with a ledge to sit on are great. Narrower beds and trellising is good too! I like long-handled tools but they are often hard to find and many times misrepresented. If you have found some good ones at a good price, the information would be much appreciated.

     
  • bmaverickbmaverick Posts: 175 ✭✭✭
    edited September 2018
    Our neighbors are in their mid-80s.  They use to run a farm.  They have a small garden patch.  It has become hard for them to stoop down to plant, weed, and harvest.

    I gave them a few wooden shipping crates that were turned into garden beds.  This was a great help for them to grow tomatoes and peppers this year.

    As we all age, our abilities tend to change.  Thinking forward, it would be wise to plan your future gardens in respect to your health ability.

    Keep this thread going.  It has great rewards for many!
  • Marc ThomaMarc Thoma Posts: 77 ✭✭
    edited September 2018
    This is a great idea! Interested in hearing some ideas, especially for raised beds, greenhouses, garden gates, hardscaping (paths, ramps) and other garden structures to make them more useable by gardeners in wheelchairs and walkers. We live in a city with lots of seniors so this would be good to know.
  • lynnlassiter50lynnlassiter50 Posts: 7
    edited September 2018
    Great to hear from everyone. I am thinking that I will get my son to start, one bed at a time, raising them even higher. Since the back of each pot is against a fence, what does everyone think about making the plot on a slant - with the back higher than the front?

     
  • CherlynnCherlynn Posts: 165 ✭✭✭
    edited September 2018
    I like the idea of slanted beds, makes watering easier.   I helped our local 4H start a project a few years ago.  They were each asked to go find a senior citizen that would like a small garden space near their front door.  They were to build the raised bed and fill it with the dirt mixture and sit down with their senior citizen and find out what they wanted planted in their space.  The kids planted it for them and If they needed plants they were to grow them so that they would be ready when needed.  The kids were tasked to go at least once a week to tend the garden.  The senior citizen only needed to water it as needed.  The kids gave service and companionship and it has been an ongoing project ever since.  I use to spend hours out in my garden and grew most of the food we needed each year.  But while I am still very active I also know that I no longer have what it takes to grow a huge garden.  So I am building a forever food forest that I can walk through or my son's can walk through and glean food as they walk. It's a work in progress But some of the fruit trees should start bearing next year and I will be adding in grapes and berries next year and pushing the garden space a little farther out.   My husband was excited when he realized he won't have to mow any more starting next year.  Thinking ahead is important as we age!
  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,662 admin
    edited September 2018
    I was just watching a show that featured Shou Sugi Ban, a Japanese technique, as a means to preserve wood. This can also be done on posts dug into the ground and lasts many years even when exposed to soil or the elements. I could see how this could be a great asset to a raised (as in a table-type) garden bed. If the right materials & finishing oil was used, it could be a nice eco-friendly, no plastic (so many are plastic), long lasting bed option for someone. It can also be very DIY for someone who can still manage a rocket stove or torch.

    I have seen a light form of this done to bring out the grain of the wood, but not as a beautiful preservative. It might just be worth looking into doing.

    I certainly want to do a project after being introduced to it. Anyone here ever tried it on a project?
  • Marc ThomaMarc Thoma Posts: 77 ✭✭
    edited September 2018
    I just read an article in a woodworking magazine about Show Sugi Ban where they did the legs of a hallway table mainly as a different way to finish the wood. It sounds like an interesting way to finish and preserve wood for outdoors though. Obviously safety precautions need to be taken. I have one of those propane weed torches (doesn't work that great for weeds) and could use it for a future project, maybe a planter or two. I prefer the look of natural cedar though.

    If I do try it, I'll post some photos here.
  • lynnlassiter50lynnlassiter50 Posts: 7
    edited September 2018
    Glad to see the interaction going on here. This is great! All good ideas!
  • bmaverickbmaverick Posts: 175 ✭✭✭
    edited September 2018
    Lynn, planting in the back top is just fine.  Grow things that would travel down and forward like melons.  :)

    source: https://store.vitagardens.com/products/liberty-raised-planter




    more at: http://www.eatlivegrowpaleo.com/2012/05/square-foot-gardening-wheelchair.html

    Make this ...
    http://redcrossdallas.blogspot.com/2014/05/veterans-home-tyler.html



    Just some ideas on how to make or build ...
  • lynnlassiter50lynnlassiter50 Posts: 7
    edited September 2018
    Great links!!! Thanks!!!
  • BlairBlair Posts: 46
    edited October 2018
    My wife is totally blind and I have been playing around with an idea to build her a Kitchen/herb garden just outside the kitchen door. so she can share some of the joy I feel with growing things. She could grow her own veggies and herbs for salads and misc. to start. Next spring should be the beginnings of it all. Getting it set up so she doesn't pick the wrong thing is the real challenge. Wish me luck getting it to work.
  • lynnlassiter50lynnlassiter50 Posts: 7
    edited October 2018
    Have you thought of Braille signs for each plant. I'm assuming that she might read Braille.

     
  • BlairBlair Posts: 46
    edited October 2018
    Yes, she reads braille; however,  I was referring more to the keeping weeds out and picking ripe vs unripe,  first year will be interesting.
  • Marc ThomaMarc Thoma Posts: 77 ✭✭
    edited October 2018
    For tomatoes she should be able to feel if they are getting soft and might also be able to smell the ripeness. For weeds she might be able to tell by feel. It will be an interesting learning experience for sure.
  • lynnlassiter50lynnlassiter50 Posts: 7
    edited October 2018
    I was just thinking maybe smell would help her distinguish ripeness.
  • workwork Posts: 24 ✭✭✭

    When medical & surgical malpractices nearly took me out, starting by putting me into heart-failure, - I knew that unless I kept truckin' they would cremate me. So, even with two major fractures I was out there hefting around 30 pound cement blocks for PT, & other Rehab that enabled me to bend & continue sitting on the ground, whatever was necessary to get the tasks done. Independence, Self-reliance, Pilates, Ballet, Iceskating & Joy in gardening... once again saved the day !

    Another great discussion. Thank you. Let's support one another as we thrive...

  • gennywugennywu Posts: 96 ✭✭✭

    During my college days, I had a summer job working with mentally disabled adults in a green house. They really benefited from gardening, and I had such a rewarding experience that I worked there every summer for minimum wage until I graduated. We taught them how to plant, weed, water and how to root cuttings. One of my best life memories.

  • VickiPVickiP Posts: 566 ✭✭✭✭

    Some tools I find helpful are the children's garden tools sold in Wal-Mart (I am sure they can be found else where as well.) I especially like the rake and shovel. Since I use a cane I have to work with one hand and regular sized tool are too cumbersome for me, these smaller ones work out pretty well. If necessary I can even sit in a chair or on a bucket and do a bit of work with them.

  • ines871ines871 zn8APosts: 1,290 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 2019

    When I was Manager in an Elderly group home in the 90's, 1 of many abysmal habits they had prior to my arrival was: shuffle from their beds to the toilet (when not overly dehydrated), shuffle to the dining table, shuffle to the t.v,, & finally shuffle back to their beds. - I designed & executed a Daily Exercise program that included a 100 sq.ft. plot with 2 long benches & pots of various kinds & colors each Client got to choose, Each also got to choose 2 Flowering plants, 1 veggie, & 1 Fruit of their choice... Slowly but surely I guided their steps 1/4 of a block in distance until they reached their Gardening project for the day. - Rainy days were spent in the PT. room with another Exercise program I also designed. And the results:

    ->Their appetite returned, as they shared their gardening experiences, & hopes at mealtimes.

    ->Each was bored to tears & depressed & in pain, no more.

    ->Where once were but endless complaints, now they sported genuine smiles of satisfaction.

    ->At summer's end, we had a Picnic & everyone contributed from their garden for all to share. Their families too were invited, with cards they had made. - The formerly rotting people, had transformed, & meds were decreased from improved Lab-values, and their families were for their Loved ones immensely thankful.

    Just Imagine if every elderly person was blessed in like manner. What a Difference it would make.

  • Key hole raised beds work well also. A friend made one for her husband so he could continue gardening from his wheelchair. She said that is working well. Just keep in mind the ground around the bed so that it is smooth enough for a wheelchair and no trip hazards for...well anyone lol. The ideas about longer handled but not full size tools are great as well. Container gardening with taller pots is an option. Another thing to consider the watering source. Light weight hoses help a lot.

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