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Thread: Adaptive Gardening

  1. #1

    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!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Jeff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Argao, Cebu, Philippines

    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 ~

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2002


    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.]

  4. #4

    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.

  5. #5
    Senior Member julran's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Gresham, OR


    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...

  6. #6

    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.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2002

    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!

  8. #8

    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!

  9. #9


    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.


  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2002


    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.

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