Karen's Corner: Gardening for All
Karen is a regular reviewer and blogger for Day Undefined. In her series, "Karen's Corner: Gardening, Upcycling, and Beyond," she invites you to join in her love of various hobbies and shares her tips for making them more accessible.
As I contemplated writing about gardening, I thought about the adjustments I have made (out of necessity) through this decade + journey. Whether novice or experienced gardener, please know, regardless of any physical limitations, that you can still fully experience the rewards of gardening. As I researched to organize my thoughts on gardening, I quickly realized an overwhelming amount of resources and information already exists for anyone who wishes to garden. In this blog, I will highlight just a few methods for you to consider and look up.
1. RAISED BED GARDENING: This method allows you to grow plants above ground and is especially good if you have limited space. There is now available soil/growing mediums specifically designed for raised bed gardening. Since the soil tends to dry out quicker, raised beds will require more frequent watering. Look for plants, including vegetables, which have shallow root systems.
2. CONTAINER GARDENING: Many plants, including shrubs and dwarf trees, can be grown in an assortment of containers. My collection of container grown plants includes Blueberry bushes, Camellias and Double Hibiscus, as well as many flowering plants and vegetables.
3. HYDROPONIC GARDENING: I use this system to start seeds for later transplanting into containers. Plants are grown from seed right on your countertop, without soil! It only takes growth ”sponges”, water and fertilizer. Some people exclusively grow herbs, salad greens and tomatoes. I will write a separate blog on this method, but it has been so much fun and I have had such success, that I purchased a 2nd unit (the 1st was a gift.) The system I use is the Aerogarden (the original indoor hydroponic system). The pictures on their website are not exaggerated. If you are interested, there are some Facebook groups you can visit.
Image: Two Aerogarden units, each with a base where seeds are grown and a bright light over it, sit on a shelf.
GENERAL TIPS FOR ADAPTIVE GARDENING
❖ Determine how much and the type of help you will need. It may be only transporting large items like soil or pots.
❖ Decide what you want to grow: flowers, vegetables, flowers for cutting, flowers for a fragrant garden, or flowers to attract Hummingbirds and Butterflies.
❖ Consider and gather gardening tools: for example, gardening gloves, tools with bright handles (for the visually impaired), tools with cushioned handles, as well as where they will be stored (I have long prick-proof gloves for handling roses and thorny bushes.)
❖ Declutter your gardening space: no trash, discarded plants materials lying around.
❖ Determine your walking/rolling path: for wheelchairs and walkers, you probably need a walkway that is at least 4’ wide
❖ Make a reliable watering pan: what is your watering source? Who will help you keep your garden watered, if needed? What watering aids do you need: hose, watering cans. Special nozzles?
Most importantly, get to know your available light and suitable plants based on light: full sun, partial shade, heavy shade.
(Just a start! Please research more on your own!)
Photos from Karen's garden: