Written by Toni Gattone
What is Adaptive Gardening?
Adaptive gardening offers a myriad of ways for gardeners of all ages with a limited range of motion, the wheelchair bound, or anyone wanting to reduce stress on their joints, to identify what works for them in their garden according to their personal physical realities.
My approach will help you think through what you may need in the future, so you can make changes now and not have to undo your hard work later.
The objectives of adaptive gardening are threefold:
1 To raise awareness of adaptive techniques that enable gardeners to re-think how and when they garden for greater ease.
2 To describe ways gardens can be changed or modified to ensure the safety and comfort of the gardener.
3 To adapt their favorite tools to increase their usability or to replace them with more ergonomic tools on the market.
10 Ways Adaptive Gardening can help you:
1. Our bodies change. That’s life. When we realize we have limitations that stop us from doing what we want to do, we have to learn to “accept what is” first. Then, and only then, can we develop resiliency by looking for other ways to get it done.
2. You deserve a safe and comfortable garden to work in.
3. One of the best things you can do for your body is to stretch, stretch, stretch before you start gardening. Do yoga, tai chi, or dance to some upbeat music that gets you moving and warmed up.
4. Switch it up! This keeps things interesting and saves you energy. Every thirty minutes, start a different chore using a different part of the body. It’s repetitive movement that causes pain, so switching it up will keep you from feeling sore the next day.
5. When you garden smarter, it takes less time to do more. Anticipate the chores you plan on doing and decide what tools and gloves you will need. Then grab a tote and bring your tools to the job, so you won’t have to double back for “one more thing.”
6. Save time and money by planting perennials or shrubs rather than annuals. By using the concept of “right plant, right place,” you won’t be making costly mistakes buying a fig tree that wants to be thirty feet tall when you only have room for a dwarf.
7. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Make sure your requests are specific and you include a deadline for any help you hire. Have more fun by inviting friends over to help. If you
grow succulents, let them take home pups you have propagated. From your garden to
8. Look for ways to make your gardening life easy. When you buy new containers, make them self-watering. Buy a tool sharpener so every cut you make is with a sharp pruner.
9. Only use ergonomic tools that are comfortable to use. Adapted tools are easy to create and cost pennies on the dollar compared to new tools.
10. If you have a bad back, it is pure joy to stand up and garden. Find eye-level vertical gardening opportunities. Then stand back to admire your work.
Switch It Up!
Do one gardening chore for 30 minutes before you move to another one so you are not doing repetitive actions all day! Keeps your body and mind healthy and focused!