This article is contributed by Frank Barnes.
Some jobs are a delight. Gardening is undoubtedly one of life’s greatest pleasures and it doesn’t matter whether you have an acre or a window box, there is something very satisfying about growing plants. Naturally, as we age, some gardening tasks can become trickier. That is no reason to give up the garden though as these five tips will help anyone with limited mobility to keep gardening.
Raise your beds
Bending over and kneeling for long periods of time can take their toll on your back and knees. As with most things in life, prevention is better than cure. Consider having your flower and vegetable beds raised to a height where you can plant, weed and harvest without difficulty. Raised-bed gardening is not only better for your back; it can also benefit your plants because you have the opportunity to change the soil type to suit your plants. In addition, the beds will get warmer long before the earth so you can get planting earlier in the year.
Head for the sky
Home grown fruit and vegetables are delicious, healthy and satisfying but some types can involve a lot of work. Consider making life easier for yourself by choosing crops that grow at a height, rather than underground. By switching crops, you will save yourself a huge amount of digging, bending and kneeling. For example, you could exchange carrots and potatoes for peas and beans. Column apple trees are a great way of ensuring plenty of tasty fruit without having to dangle from high ladders. Because they are compact in terms of height and reach, they are much easier to harvest than traditional trees.
Weeding can be the bane of many people’s gardening lives and it can be depressing to watch them grow if you can’t deal with them straight away. A good way to keep weeds to a minimum is to set up a container garden. All kinds of plants are suitable for growing in containers and you can grow everything from fruit trees through to azaleas. If you prefer to keep your garden the way it is, then you might want to invest in a grandpa’s weeder. This is a long-handled weeder which has been making short work of weeds and sparing people’s backs for well over a century.
Go low maintenance
Lawns and hedging can be very pretty but they can also be a full-time job in the summer months, to say nothing of the leaf raking during autumn. If these are jobs that you’d rather not deal with, you could replace your hedge with an attractive fence. It’s also possible to replace your lawn with artificial grass. There are many types available these days which look fantastic, reduce mud, and most importantly, mean no more mowing. One added advantage of having a synthetic lawn is that it will look perfectly verdant all year round, even in shady areas.
Take a breather
It can be very tempting for all of us to keep going for long periods of time, especially once we’re down on our knees. Unfortunately, it’s usually the next day when we pay the price and find that we can’t get back out in the garden. The best way to avoid this is to plan regular breaks and then take them. Work out what the optimal time is for you to spend on each task without causing yourself any problems. For instance, you might prune for twenty minutes and then rest for ten. Or you might kneel down to weed for five before coming up for air. Encourage yourself to take these mini breaks by having lots of relaxation spots in the garden. Strategically placed benches, chairs or even a large tree stump can make handy resting points. If you get carried away and forget to stop, set regular alarms on your watch or phone to remind you.
Frank Barnes is an editor writing for Great British Mobility
, a British based mobility product supplier that provides a wide range of mobility products for seniors and disabled people including rise and recline chairs and adjustable beds. Great British Mobility are the leading UK provider of mobility products for seniors.