Tanith Perry-Mills is a freelance garden writer for hire specializing in gardening, landscaping, and homesteading. When she’s not writing, she’s keeping her two cats out of her houseplants and growing her own sustainable vegetable garden.
Find out more about her services at http://tanithperrymills.com.
Three Ways to Make Your Garden More Accessible for Chronic Fatigue
I discovered my love for vegetable gardening at the same time I realised that my debilitating fatigue was not going to go away on its own. I still tried to grow a 200 sq ft garden, through which I learned a lot, but it quickly grew unmanageable.
This year, I don’t have access to an in-ground garden of any size, only a 2m x 2m patio. It could have felt like a letdown. Instead, it was an exciting opportunity for me to make a garden that is way more me-friendly.
Here’s 3 ways I’m making my garden more accessible:
#1 – Container gardening with an elevated planter
Last year, I struggled with kneeling down, planting seeds or weeding, then standing back up to move and do that over again. And that was before the heat wave destroyed my remaining stamina and gave the weeds super growing powers.
So this year, I built (with the labour of my husband) a 4 ft x 2 ft elevated planter with a handsaw and a power drill.
Elevated planters are fantastic! They allow you to:
Cut down or eliminate weeds altogether
Bring the garden up to you, whether that’s sitting or standing (which is easier for me)
Be short enough across that you can reach the back without having to strain
If you’re in a wheelchair, buying or making one with a sloped box can give you more space to get close to it.
I also added a few other large containers at ground level with climbing plants like cherry tomatoes.
#2 – Tank sprayer / pump action pressure sprayer
I don’t have access to a hose and holding up a 2 gallon watering pot is just not in the cards for me. Instead, after seeing it crop up in a video by Garden Answers, I bought a tank sprayer.
With a tank sprayer, I can set the heavy tank part down on the ground or on a stool, pump it a few times (or have someone else do it), then just hold the wand to spray water over my plants. The pressure lasts a pretty long time. It’s slow at moistening large amounts of potting soil, but it’s fantastic for seedlings. I used this when starting seeds this year, and the difference between using a spray bottle and this was incredible. 10/10 would recommend.
While they’re more expensive than a plastic watering can, it’s still pretty inexpensive overall (mine cost $30), and has made watering so much easier for me.
#3 – A dedicated potting station
I struggle with pacing. When I had to pull out the potting soil and clean up afterward, it seemed way more efficient to do all the seeding and potting up in one go. 2 hours later (why do seed trays always take way longer than expected?), I’m so exhausted I have to haul myself up to bed.
Learning from this mistake, I set up a potting station in my house using a Rubbermaid bin. I can do one thing a day with minimal setup and clean up. Seed 3 trays one day. Pot up the tomatoes the next day. Direct sow the day after. That way, I can limit my active time.
And this has one other bonus: because I don’t need to somehow put aside 2 hours of energy for gardening on top of other essential things like work, I’m actually getting more done with less procrastination.
Using these three methods, I feel way more on top of the garden this year and I’m confident that I can grow as many healthy vegetables as I have space for, without the crashes.
Tanith Perry-Mills is a freelance garden writer for hire specializing in gardening, landscaping, and homesteading. When she’s not writing, she’s keeping her two cats out of her houseplants and growing her own sustainable vegetable garden. Find out more about her services at tanithperrymills.com.