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Accessible Gardening

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April 29, 2019

Despite being a favorite hobby, gardening can be frustrating limited accessibility today on Southern Gardening. 

It’s Spring, and gardening is one of those activities that gardeners really look forward and to, and enjoy fresh vegetables in return return for the work involved.  There has been much interest and effort in designing gardening options and tools for those gardeners with accessibility issues.  I have a bad back like many other gardeners.  Any time I have to work kneeling or bent over in the garden results in spending time with the heating pad and taking ibuprofen.  For those needing the help of wheelchairs or scooters there are table top garden options. The Pine Belt Master Gardeners have designed and built over 800 6-inch deep salad tables addressing garden accessibility. These salad tables are perfect for leafy greens and using the 8-inch deep version you can even grow potatoes. Another idea for accessible gardening involves attaching sections of plastic gutter to a wooden fence and growing leaf lettuce in the “gutter garden”.  The beauty of this design is that the gutter can be placed at any height that is needed for the gardener.  In fact I have some these gutters on my fence growing edible pansies and violas.  Another vertical garden idea is related to the popular gardening in a bale of hay concept.  The bale brings your garden up to a comfortable height.  Another version uses a round bale of hay laid on its side and different vegetables can be planted in the vertical side allowing easy accessibility. 

Making the garden more easily reached and maintained means that everyone, no matter their level of accessibility, can take advantage of the benefits a garden can provide.  I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.  

Department: CREC-Coastal Research & Ext Center

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