- Grove City, Pennsylvania


February 5, 2009

Don’t stop gardening; alter it to accommodate limitations

By T.C. Connor

The Write Gardener

Some, if not most, of y’all are baby boomers like myself, but it’d be naive of me to think that we’re all equally physically fit. You might be more or less capable of hoeing five rows of corn than other cotton-top gardeners, and I might be less or more capable of hand pulling weeds from a 5’ x 10’ flower bed than those same cotton-toppers. But I think we can all agree that our love for gardening is equally strong.

Personally, I’ve noticed a decrease in stamina and strength as I’ve gotten older. Or maybe it’s just these northeast winters taking their toll. Having said that, I think it would be a good idea to start thinking about how I might adjust a few things in the garden to make it a little easier. There is a way to lessen physical strains that gardening sometimes brings as one gets older: The “Home Enabling Garden.”

Sixty million people in the U.S. are suffering from disabilities, and a lot of them are probably gardeners. I would also guess many of these folks had to quit gardening. Maybe it was due to limits placed on them by their aging bodies, or perhaps it was due to the garden not being as accessible as it once was. The first problem, the aging process, cannot be altered, but the second problem can be addressed, and should be.

The first thing you need to consider is your needs and abilities. What type of gardening do you want to do? How much time do have? Do you use a wheelchair, cane, or walker? Do you tire easily? Do you need to take special precautions when bending and/or kneeling? There are several things you can do to make your garden more easily accessible, so you should start by identifying all of your special considerations.

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