Gardening for your wheelchair will allow you to plant your favorite flowers, grow fresh herbs for cooking and just generally enjoy the outdoors.
To have the best possible gardening experience you will need to assess your abilities, know your limits and how your garden is set up. There shouldn’t be anything in the garden that will prevent you from working in the garden. Your garden should accommodate your special needs. If it doesn’t you won’t be as productive and it could take away from your enjoyment.
Walkways should be wide enough and smooth enough so that you can easily maneuver your wheelchair. You should have sufficient room to back up without hitting obstacles and you should have enough room to work comfortably and not feel cramped. Paved areas or concrete slabs provide great traction, which makes moving the wheelchair much easier.
Tabletop and Wall Gardens
Tabletop gardens or vertical wall gardens are ideal for wheelchair users and the big pots or containers will need caddies so they can be moved and placed easily. Pots should be a minimum of 24 inches in diameter so that the soil doesn’t dry out too quickly.
Hanging baskets are great for wheelchair gardeners. Even better is if they have pulleys on the baskets so that the wheelchair gardener can easily raise or lower them without having to over reach. With a pulley on hanging baskets, you can adjust your plants so they are displayed at different levels.
Tools and Reaching Aids
If the gardener has limited movement of their arms or hands, tools with long handles work really well. They should be easy to use and have good grip on the handles. A simple thing like wrapping the handle with foam and duct tape will make it much more convenient to hold. Velcro straps on your arms will help to add stability.
With the arms and hands properly supported, more of the work will go into the tools and not into your body. Hand function is vital to every tool the wheelchair gardener uses. Try to keep your hands close to your body and don’t extend your arms. If you do need to reach, use a tool with a long handle.
You should personalize your garden to suit your needs. You won’t need as many tools if you adapt the garden to your specific needs. The wheelchair gardener should also consider using soil that is softer and lighter. This makes digging and planting much easier.
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