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Adaptive Gardening

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    Adaptive Gardening

    I am looking for some feedback and resources on gardening. Last year I just plopped myself down on the ground and scooted using my arms. This year, I have lost the use of my right arm from an accident. We live in a townhouse and the homeowners association restricts planters, etc. Does anyone have suggestions as to how I can plant flowers in some capacity this year? Any adaptive tools that may help since I am not left handed by birth but am now out of necessity.

    I am thrilled that my tulips and daffidilles have come back up this year. The flowers make me smile as I come and go form the house. They are better than any medication!
    Every day I wake up is a good one

    Maybe one of those rolling devices...

    mechanics use to roll under cars would allow you to move around yet be low enough to the ground to do your gardening. I used to do the same thing you do to plant flowers and often considered there had to be a better way.

    ~See you at the SCIWire-used-to-be-paralyzed Reunion ~
    ~See you at the CareCure-used-to-be-paralyzed Reunion ~



      Cheesecake, I thought I'd posted a detailed, passionate response earlier this pm; but it appears it never made it.

      I'd love to help you w/your yard. Give me some more info about your climate, size of yard, restrictions. I might have some ideas for you.

      And, btw, my mother has a gardening website for the coastal US called You could post a question for her, and she'll find the answer for you.

      Best of luck.

      [This message was edited by Marcomo on Apr 01, 2002 at 01:52 PM.]


        Postage stamp garden

        I have a space that is about 10 feet long and less than 2 feet deep. There are shrubs in the same area, ie. azalea. I want to add some color. My big question is how to dig. When I planted the bulds I used a tulip digger. Does any one know if there is any other type of adaptive tools?
        The problem is that we have red clay that is very rocky. I live in the mid-atlantic, we are in a drought and the summer temps are humid.

        Jeff, Rubbermaid has come out with a scooting thing. You can pull your tools as well as sit on top of it. My trunk support is pretty close to normal but my ability to reposition upright stinks. I just need something to help leverage me higher than the ground. I am considering my sons skateboard. [img]/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif[/img]
        Every day I wake up is a good one



          How would your homeowners association feel about tastefully done raised flower beds? Someone else would have to do the initial work but then you could garden from your chair with relative ease. Wouldn't they rather have beautiful flowers rather than ugly weeds? It wouldn't hurt to ask... [img]/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
          This too shall pass...


            Julran---Homeowner approval

            It wasn't until last month that I realized better yet, accepted that I was going to need to do the gardening adaptively. We read the by-laws as our neighbor was just told to remove a tree! (Give me a break). We are going to submit a proposal for approval of flower beds but authorization may take as long as 3 months. For next year that is great but I want to be sure to enjoy this year too. Terra cotta pots are allowed so if push comes to shove, I will do a row of those and then have my husband and sons "place" them. I would rather get down in the dirt though. I find it therapeutic.

            Do others here garden? If so, how do you do it? Jackie told me that the hollow tool I used to plant bulds can be used for all digging. That will help alot. It is a handle, with teeth on the bottom and measurements up the side. You can spin the tool to the desired depth and then pull up to remove the excess dirt(or lay as is the case here). The flowers bring me such pleasure that I want to expand my efforts this year as independently as possible.

            No weeds in the front, if it has to be bare I pull it clean using my left arm.
            Every day I wake up is a good one


              So you can use pots?

              But you can't use planters. That's good. And if you have your son and husband to help place them, that makes a big difference. Have you ever tried using bulbs in pots. Did I mention before that you can stack them--early spring, late spring, early summer? Or was that in the posting that I lost?

              Believe it or not, I woke up early this morning thinking about your situation. The rocky red clay you're having to work with--that's totally unacceptable! Get hubby and son to rent a small tiller or just use a hoe. Invest in some good soil conditioner, black cow or other manure, top soil, chicken manure (that's what mom put in a bed she did for me) and mix it all up. A local nursery can advise you on the exact recipe. Water regularly. Then you won't have to battle that horrible red clay (been there, done that, still do it). Digging and weeding will be much easier when you have the right soil. Then top it off with your favorite mulch.

              I hope this helps. Makes me want to go dig in the dirt, and it's not even 7am yet!


                Phase one of flower garden

                I am now energized. My stepson is home for sprin break and he asked what he could do today. Boy is he sorry and I am sure he won't ask again tomorrow! I handed him a shovel. He dug back and evened the planting area, filled in the holes with top soil and some potting soil.We used our recycled water to water (severe water shortage in this county). We can't rototill because it is ALL red clay so we used a hoe to break up some of the crud.
                When I say postage stamp garden I mean it, maybe all of 8 ft by 4 ft with shrubbery planted there. Next phase is to hit Home Depot for additional soil, etc.

                I didn't know about stacking pots, I will try that for the spring bulbs in the fall. I am looking to get a rose bush(miniature) some preannials and etc. I want bursts of color. It picks me up and gives me energy. I can't wait to start playing in the dirt next! [img]/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
                Every day I wake up is a good one



                  My friend is studying landscape design, I am going to ask her to pose these questions about adapting garden tools to her classmates. It is time we got creative and came up with small solutions for making these kinds of things easier. Gardening is a great hobby and nurturing talent. I love when people garden. Someone needs to teach me that skill! OH !! Now I got an idea for a new gizmo! I have the same mid-atlantic red clay clump syndrome- AB's have trouble turning that soil too.




                    i was just wondering how things were progressing w/your flower bed. it wasn't until i was leaving brian's last saturday that he told me how close you were. i would have definitely altered my plans so i could drop by and see for myself! i can't believe i was that close!

                    i've thought a lot about your situation as i've worked in my yard this past week. one thing i'd suggest, if you're not already doing this, is section your plants, ie bulbs in one area, so when it comes to digging/planting you can pretty much stay in one area; perenniels that need pruning, etc; annuals, etc.. it might save some time and energy on your part.


                      Hi B. I hope your gardening is going well. I should ship my Michelle out to you...she loves gardening. She has a few boxes she plants vegetables in. She was so proud last year...she grew a weed that was 5 ½ feet tall (not of the maryJane variety though [img]/forum/images/smilies/wink.gif[/img] lol)

                      I miss gardening with my grandma. She had a huge garden out on the farm and we loved helping with it when we were kids. My grandpa still takes care of some of it and cuts flowers to bring to me (isn't he adorable [img]/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif[/img] )

                      I hope you got everything figured out so that you can have some beautiful flowers to enjoy [img]/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]

                      Life is a lesson you learn when you're through.
                      Life is a lesson you learn when you're through.


                        Cheese, I'm a pot gardener now for the most part. Well, that and garden manager for the spousal unit. [img]/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] I use OXO's Good Grips gardening tools. You might be able to find them at Walmart or Kmart or at least Bed, Bath and Beyond. Also, when you switch to pots look for the fake terra cotta ones. Lightweight until filled with dirt and will not crack during freezes.

                        You might also want to check out your association's policy for anyone disabled. When Jay had a step removed from our front walk so it would be a straight shot to the door one of the RAC people stopped by. All he said was she now needs a wheelchair and there's some law called the ADA that the rehab hospital keeps talking about... But I hear you on the crappy soil. 've tried different types of roses in both of ourplaces down here at different times and if black spot doesn't kill them the mildew will. Roses do not like humidity but can survive in a very airy garden. Maybe try the newer schrub type roses in large pots with something viney down the sides of the pot.

                        I have a book around here soomewhere that I got at Home Depot on adaptive gardening. As soon as the contractors finish the closets I'll find it and send you the name. Oh, and some of the associations down here are ok with rock or other natural materials to raise beds as long as they aren't meant as fences.

                        I am probably the only person in Maryland who can't get azaelas to grow. My daffodils are the best on the block though. [img]/forum/images/smilies/tongue.gif[/img]
                        Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

                        Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.


                          Thanks All

                          I appreciate all the tips here. I went out to HomeDepot this evening and did some exploring. I found some "rubberized gloves" for gardening, a bit pricey but they will help me hold on to the tools.
                          Sue, we can put border up but not high enough for my satisfaction. I like the tips for planters. Terra cotta pots are inexpensive and seem pretty versatile. I am still looking for the tools you suggested.

                          My OT is on a mission with me. It is a topic at hand therapy each evening. I have shared everyones brainstorming. Hopefully we have seen the last of our freezing weather.

                          Marcomo, sorry I missed you this last weekend but I was in NJ. Yes, I live about 30 miles from BrianS.

                          So Red, do you plant corn? Or simply seeds of thought? Keep the encouragement and ideas coming!
                          Every day I wake up is a good one


                            I found THE book

                            The Able Gardener
                            Overcoming Barriers of Age and Physical Limitations
                            by Kathleen Yeomans, RN
                            published by: Garden Way Publishing, copyright 1992 and 286 softbound pages. I'm pretty sure I found it at Home Depot but with the net I'm sure Amazon can locate one.
                            Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

                            Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.



                              Sue, Thanks. The garden is still not planted, between all the late freezes, drought and trying to figure out how to plant I have been at a standstill. I will look for the book on Amazon.
                              Every day I wake up is a good one