Sandbox forum: Tips For Gardening In An Older Body

Page 1 of 2 • 1 2
Views: 606, Replies: 21 » Jump to the end
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
RoseBlush1
Jul 18, 2017 2:23 AM CST
In another thread, I offered to send Becky, @beckygardener , tips for getting up and down while working in the garden as she mentioned that was one of her concerns, in a t-mail because I didn't want to take the thread off topic.

Becky didn't take me up on that offer, but a few other people did send t-mails asking for tips ... Smiling

I decided to start a thread instead of writing an article so others could add their tips, too. Also, we could discuss other issues that have come up with gardening in older bodies ... Big Grin Besides, other people might have better ideas than I do ... Whistling

What works for me, may not work for you simply because it doesn't work with your garden design or for some other reason .. but here goes ..

First what didn't work ... Rolling my eyes.

My sister bought me one of those scooter things because she thought I'd be more comfortable sitting down while I worked. She was right about that part, but, I couldn't reach the weeds while I was on the scooter. The scooter now lives in the workshop down in my garage.

Then I bought one of those kneeler / bench things. Ooops ! The getting down part is easy, but kneeling on that narrow kneeling pad did not agree with my knees for more than 10 minutes. When I went to get up, I had to raise my hands up to the level of my shoulders to grasp the handles and pull myself up. The klutz the lives inside of me took over and I was an accident about to happen. That thing now lives in the garden shed waiting to be re-purposed .. Sticking tongue out

My best solution, so far, was to purchase two bath mats at the dollar store that I could fold up any way I wanted for the padding I needed once I got down. I also purchased a small kitchen step stool and a small bucket. I keep my big 5 gal weed bucket behind me and empty the smaller bucket into that as needed.

Once I am down ... the easy part ... I just work away until my back starts giving me fits and then I put my stool in front of me and just lean over it for support and keep on working. I find that changing positions keeps me from stiffening up and this really does help my back.

When it's time to get up, I just use my hands to push on the stool to push me up onto my feet and I am UP. No strain on tired legs.

I find I can work longer and am much more relaxed and it's much easier to pace myself.

Oh, yes. Taking breaks does make a difference in my productivity, too. I never used to do that. I'd just power through a job. However, I've found that even with the breaks, I get more done if I go at a steady pace and don't try to push it.

OK ... now, it's your turn for your two cents ... Smiling
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.

Marty50
Jul 18, 2017 4:40 AM CST
I also find I need to take breaks to get some liquid in me and to rest a bit. We have nice deck chairs and I sometimes sit there. Sometimes a walking tour of the flower beds is a better option. It gets the kinks out of my muscles and gives me a chance to just enjoy looking at my plants. I like the step stool idea. It would be the right height to push from to get up. And I appreciate the review of what didn't work. I thought I wanted one of those wagons, but didn't get one. Then we moved to a sloped spot of land and it wouldn't work here anyway.
Another thing I do is change types of jobs, alternating from lots of bending to other types of garden tasks. I hope other people will share their ideas.
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
Image
beckygardener
Jul 18, 2017 6:34 AM CST
Lyn - LOL! I got your email directing me here. Thank you!

I like the idea of starting this thread so others can post their tips, too! Gardening in an older body does present some issues that I never had when I was even 5-10 years younger. Getting older is not for the weak or meek! You have to be tough to garden when older! The benefits though are the mental relaxation of gardening, the physical exercise, and getting outdoors in the fresh air and sun (vit. D).

I use a small metal and padded folding kneeler. I also changed the hard scaping of some of my beds. I removed the wood borders around raised beds and replaced them with cinder block, added the concrete caps, and adhered them all together. I paint them every few years and typically change the paint color to mix things up for a new look. Because the cinder block is wide, I can just sit on them when weeding the raised beds. Sometimes in the hot summer months, I have to put a towel down before sitting as the concrete can get pretty hot. I don't want to burn my bottom. Whistling Hilarious!

And I also get up and move around as well as get a drink from time to time to help relieve any stiffing from staying in one position too long.

I use a tool I got years ago to loosen up weed clumps. I don't know what it is called, but it's got a few prongs at the end that you stick into the ground and then just twist back and forth a couple of times. It loosens the weeds right up so they are very easy to just pull up with very little effort. I also drag a 25 gallon plastic bin around with me to throw the pruning of shrub branches into. It works well for larger branches vs. small weeds. A 5 gallon bucket works well for small weeds.

I look forward to reading more tips from others! Thumbs up
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
[Last edited by beckygardener - Jul 18, 2017 6:37 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1505365 (3)
Name: Toni Melvin
Sherwood Oregon (Zone 8a)
Region: Oregon Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Herbs Beekeeper
Permaculture Composter Canning and food preservation Bee Lover Vermiculture Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Toni
Jul 18, 2017 1:00 PM CST
This thread is fantastic! Group hug
The only thing that would make this thread EVEN better would be pictures of @beckygardner 's tool, and @RoseBlush1 's stool
I love these tips and tricks.
Keep them coming everyone - this is so helpful
Toni
I aspire to be the person my dog thinks I am
Name: Betty
MN zone 4
Frogs and Toads Birds Roses Region: United States of America Peonies Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
Lilies Irises Hummingbirder Hostas Garden Art Echinacea
Image
daylilydreams
Jul 18, 2017 1:52 PM CST
I use a metal kneeler/bench to which I added a thick garden kneeling pad on top of the built in one it came with. Also have the tool holder for it, which also came from Lee Valley so my most used tools are handy. Plus my DH added a piece of pvc pipe wired on the metal frame with the bottom pluged into which I can put a beach umbrella for shade. I have used this for many years it is essential to my gardening. I take plenty of breaks to sit on the patio under the umbrella that is there and have a nice cool drink of water.

My containers for weeds are those collapsible containers they are lightweight and come in various sizes, plus do not take up to much room when stored for the season.
If you want to be happy for a lifetime plant a garden!
Faith is the postage stamp on our prayers!
Betty MN Zone4 AHS member

[Last edited by daylilydreams - Jul 18, 2017 9:01 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1505724 (5)
Name: Critter (Jill)
Frederick, MD (Zone 6b)
We're all learners, doers, teachers
Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Critters Allowed Butterflies Hummingbirder Bee Lover
Region: Mid-Atlantic Cottage Gardener Garden Photography Tropicals Hibiscus Cat Lover
Image
critterologist
Jul 18, 2017 5:33 PM CST
I use a kneeler (the kind that can be flipped over into a seat, but I use it in the kneeler position so the high side handles help me get up. I tend to sprawl way forward in various directions when weeding and planting, so I'm not just in one position on the kneeler. Sitting on it works fine also. Using a "digger/weeder" tool with a 15-18" handle extends my reach and gives me more mechanical advantage. My favorite tool is this triangular warren hoe: https://www.amazon.com/gp/prod...

I love the idea of mounting an umbrella to my kneeler for shade!
I'm learning to dance in the rain. Thank you, Sally & Chris & Sharon.
College Station,TX
zone 8
Hummingbirder Region: Texas Roses Butterflies Echinacea
Image
teacup754
Jul 18, 2017 5:48 PM CST
I got one of those kid's red wagons and use it to haul mulch around as I am spreading a bag. I also use one of those three legged camping stools to sit on as I am throwing it around. Lightweight and easy to move as needed
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
Image
beckygardener
Jul 19, 2017 8:35 AM CST
I have a very old red and white Fisher Price hard plastic children's wagon that my kids played with when they were little. I've had for over 20 years. It is beat up and cracking now, but still a workhorse that I use for hauling pots, mulch, bags of soil, etc. around my property. I wish I could find another one at a garage sale as this one is probably on it's last wheel. Fisher Price's newer versions are not as useful as this older one.

Here is the picture of the tool I use for loosening up large weed clumps. I also use it to help aerate the ground soil. Love this tool! It is made very sturdy. I've had it for a number of years now with no sign of wear or tear. I do not remember what it is called and I haven't seen any for sale for years.

You just stick it's prongs into a weed clump and then twist back and forth twice and remove the tool. Afterwards, just pull out the loosened weeds, shake the soil off, and then I toss the weeds into a bin or bucket for later disposal. I will do the jab into the weed/ground and twist to an entire area that needs weeding and then follow that by easily pulling up all the weeds that were loosened. I can do a 5' x 5' area in about 15 minutes. Easy Peasy! Love this tool. There may be better long handled tools for weeding, but I don't own any others.

Thumb of 2017-07-19/beckygardener/9fa277 Thumb of 2017-07-19/beckygardener/deafc8

Thumb of 2017-07-19/beckygardener/4603fe Thumb of 2017-07-19/beckygardener/d5551f
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
Image
beckygardener
Jul 19, 2017 8:48 AM CST
Here is the only tool I could find that is similar to mine. This one actually has a foot plate which is nice. But I didn't pay anywhere near this much for mine:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000RYQ0CG/
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
[Last edited by beckygardener - Jul 19, 2017 8:49 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1506283 (9)
Name: Betty
MN zone 4
Frogs and Toads Birds Roses Region: United States of America Peonies Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
Lilies Irises Hummingbirder Hostas Garden Art Echinacea
Image
daylilydreams
Jul 19, 2017 10:04 AM CST
Becky, seems like that was called the Garden Weasel there is one in our garden barn.
If you want to be happy for a lifetime plant a garden!
Faith is the postage stamp on our prayers!
Betty MN Zone4 AHS member

Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Deer Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
Bonehead
Jul 19, 2017 11:23 AM CST
I use a 2'x4' anti-stress foam kitchen mat for my padding. I can move around on it without losing my padding, and change from kneeling to sitting easily. Once I've cleaned up all I can reach, I'll stand up, unkink, perhaps unload my weed bucket, then move the mat for another go-round. I try to do everything in that 4' swatch, from clipping the edge to weeding to dividing to pruning. It is rewarding to see a small patch of 100% 'done' among the jungle.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
College Station,TX
zone 8
Hummingbirder Region: Texas Roses Butterflies Echinacea
Image
teacup754
Jul 19, 2017 2:06 PM CST
Bonehead said: It is rewarding to see a small patch of 100% 'done' among the jungle.


I agree and that is what keeps me going sometimes. Weeded, mulched, edged and even the simplest plantings look 100% better.
Name: Toni Melvin
Sherwood Oregon (Zone 8a)
Region: Oregon Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Herbs Beekeeper
Permaculture Composter Canning and food preservation Bee Lover Vermiculture Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Toni
Jul 20, 2017 1:10 PM CST
beckygardener said:Here is the only tool I could find that is similar to mine. This one actually has a foot plate which is nice. But I didn't pay anywhere near this much for mine:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000RYQ0CG/


Thank you for posting Great info about your favorite tool. I love the one in the link. Does yours have the same handle as the one on the link?
Toni
I aspire to be the person my dog thinks I am
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Daylilies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
tveguy3
Jul 23, 2017 4:18 AM CST
Just found this thread, some great ideas, thanks. I use some cheap foam knee pads that I can strap to my legs. I also have a 6 gallon pail that I use to put the weeds in, it holds just about enough to make it break time when it's full. It's tall enough that I can use it as a support to get up, and when I walk it over to the compost pile and back I'm "loosened up' enough to go back to work. Sometimes I use two pails, one for weeds to throw away, and the other for things that I know the horses like to eat. Clover, dandelions, and grasses. Now if I could just find a way to make this horrible humidity go away I'd be all set. Hilarious!
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: Critter (Jill)
Frederick, MD (Zone 6b)
We're all learners, doers, teachers
Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Critters Allowed Butterflies Hummingbirder Bee Lover
Region: Mid-Atlantic Cottage Gardener Garden Photography Tropicals Hibiscus Cat Lover
Image
critterologist
Jul 25, 2017 8:58 AM CST
ooh I bet they prance when they see you coming with fresh treats!!

great idea on the pail being sturdy enough and tall enough to use as a standing aid.
I'm learning to dance in the rain. Thank you, Sally & Chris & Sharon.
Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
Sempervivums Container Gardener Foliage Fan Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2014
Image
webesemps
Sep 22, 2017 3:22 PM CST
I used to have a very long gravel driveway that needed to be weeded. These weeds were not so much in semi-soft dirt as they were growing in between the rocks. It took a long time to weed as the weeds were very far apart and my scooter couldn't travel smoothly over the gravel driveway which meant I had to pick the scooter up and walk with it to the next weed. Once started I had to get done and that was when I experienced the worse back spasms in my life.

Forward 15 years later, no more gravel driveway and much smaller garden, I have learned that I can weed only for a set amount of time before my back would start to fatigue. I set a timer on my wristwatch for 15 minutes and carry a 2.5 gallon bucket. Whichever gets filled first, the bucket or the alarm on the allotted time dictates when I stop. And then, it's inside the house for an ice pack on my lower back. We aren't getting new backs or bodies at any milestone birthdays so I have to take care of mine now!
Name: Dana P
Canton, OH (Zone 6a)
Project Junkie :greengrin:
Daylilies Butterflies Hummingbirder Cat Lover Dog Lover Roses
Region: Ohio Winter Sowing Composter Birds Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Level 1
bloominholes2fill
Sep 22, 2017 6:03 PM CST
@Bev very smart indeed! I tip my hat to you.
"The grass is only greener where it's watered and fertilized." - Yours Truly
Always be yourself, unless you can be Batman, then you should ALWAYS be Batman! - Unknown
Dana
https://garden.org/blogs/view/...
https://www.youtube.com/channe...
Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
Sempervivums Container Gardener Foliage Fan Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2014
Image
webesemps
Sep 22, 2017 8:21 PM CST
I have to give more of an update. I've sold the house and now there's no garden/ground to plant into. The condo has two balconies; upper one suitable for shade gardening in pots/planters and the lower one accommodates flats of succulents propped up on black crates. No more weeding for me as the HOA handles the public landscaping and hardly any kneeling down except to do my yoga stretches. My back may last a little bit longer in this lifetime. Smiling
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Deer Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
Bonehead
Sep 22, 2017 8:55 PM CST
Bev, best of luck in your new digs; sounds like it will be a big change for you. Here's a thought: pack gloves and snippers whenever you go on a trip, even if it's just to a park. There's always a weed to pull.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
Sempervivums Container Gardener Foliage Fan Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2014
Image
webesemps
Sep 22, 2017 10:29 PM CST
Hilarious! Thanks for that tip, Deb.

Page 1 of 2 • 1 2

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Sandbox forum
Only the members of the Members group may reply to this thread.

Member Login:

Username:

Password:

[ Join now ]

Today's site banner is by Fleur569 and is called "One Plant..Variety of Blooms"