People with disabilities can try their hands on planting during this spring.
Once your house is accessible with a gardening space, you can plant and nurture a garden. There are several innovative ways for people with disabilities to engage in gardening. For a person with a disability to successfully own a garden, the most important thing to do is to use raised soil beds that are high enough to avoid bending and stooping over. A raised soil bed can be made of cinder blocks, bricks, stone or wood (redwood or cedar, not creosote-treated wood).
Raised soil beds can be up to 4 feet across and at least 2 feet high or higher for you to reach across from either side. The soil beds must be placed strategically at a place where it will receive at least six hours of direct sunlight, it will also be better if the soil beds are close to the house as well as to a water source.
If your soil beds are created in a way that you can easily fit your legs underneath while working, provide drainage holes in the box. Don't forget to fill the raised beds with good topsoil and compost before you start planting.
You can fit a soil bed with trellises or supports to enable vertical plantings like pole beans, cucumbers or other climbers. Most importantly, a trellis with a pulley system that allows you to pull down the trellised plants to harvest is good.
Plants in raised soil beds tend to dry out faster, so you will always need to make sure your plants are well hydrated to keep moisture in the soil.
To make a garden very accessible, pathways made of brick or patio stone, though requiring a big investment initially and quite labor-intensive will be needed, it will help keep weeds away, and wheelchairs, walkers or canes can easily maneuver on them. Paths should be level, have a textured surface (not slippery), drain well and at least 4 feet wide with grades not exceeding a 5% rise in elevation. The pathway can be fitted with a bench or seating area.
Other planting options that can be utilized instead of raised beds are containers that can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes — large pots, planters, barrels, planting bags, old boots, you name it! Containers need to be deep enough to accommodate the plants you intend to fill them with, drainage is most important.
As a gardener with disabilities, you need to hang baskets on a pulley system to be able to easily water and care for plants. You can also get some plant trolleys on wheels so you can move the pot around as needed to catch sunlight.