Summer is here and the living is easy. However, those with disabilities may have limited movement when it comes to gardening and enjoying time outdoors. To get around some of the obstacles, here are a few useful tips:
- It’s important to be realistic with the size of your garden and what you’d like to grow. For many people raised beds and plant containers are more convenient to reach.
- Make use of walls. Shelving can be attached to wood or brick walls and tables can stand up against them. Trellises and trellis boxes can be used to train climbing vines, flowers and vegetables.
- Consider a vertical garden. A vertical garden is an attractive way to bring plants closer to a seated gardener. With a vertical garden, plants grow sideways and perpendicular to the ground. When watering they’re soaked from the top. Soil is covered with plastic to hold it in place and then covered with mesh or wood. A slit is made in the plastic and young plants rather than seeds are then transplanted into the compartment and trained to grow outward.
- Look for lightweight, ergonomic tools that are designed to be easier to grip. Newer types of prosthetic grips with specific uses have even been developed for amputees. Spring-released tools can help compensate for weak hands. Cordless power tools can also be a big help.
- Watering is crucial to any successful garden but carrying around a watering can is out of the question for many of us. A watering wand attached to a hose can extend your reach. A soaker hose can be an efficient way to cover large areas or you might consider an oscillating sprinkler. Another great idea is to take a plastic garden sprayer bottle, the kind usually used for fertilizer and place it inside a small-wheeled trolley or cart. Simply fill with water, pump the handle to build pressure and you now have a watering system you can pull or push around your garden.
- Gardening is great exercise and it’s always satisfying to see the beautiful results of all your hard work. The key is to adapt and learn, but most importantly to get outside and enjoy yourself.
- For the die-hard gardener, your choice of handicap accessible vehicle can make all the difference when it comes to transporting your gardening materials from the store to home. A handicap or wheelchair accessible van or truck will provide more room and convenience for your materials than a handicap accessible car.
The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) is an advocate for mobility and accessibility for drivers with disabilities. If you need help with converting or buying a handicap accessible van, car or truck, please consider one of our mobility equipment dealers.