Accessible Gardening for Beginners

We’re nearing March. The cold, snowy months are waning. With spring drawing near, it’s time to begin planning your garden. The first day of spring is March 19, but don’t wait until then to decide what seeds to buy. For some plants, you might want to start them inside and transplant them once the snow is gone for good.

A Well-Organized Garden

Planning out our raised garden
Plan out where your plants will go. Leave plenty of space for roots to spread.
Organizing your gardening tools and deciding what to plant early will give you a head start on your spring gardening. Make a checklist of what seeds your planning to grow this season. Remember, including herbs in your flower bed is a great way to add functional greenery. Native plants, dwarf hybrids, edible settings, and dark foliage are a few trending plants for 2020, according to horticulturalists at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Once you have an idea of what your garden will look like, you can prepare the beds. Some plants can be started before you’re ready to plant outside. If you’re going to start any plants, be sure to have the proper tools. Consider using accessible-garden-specific tools if they will make your gardening experience more enjoyable.

Garden Layout

Planning your garden space should also include where each plant will sit. Good gardening techniques like properly spacing out each plant will help your garden thrive. Think: “Square foot gardening.” Each plant will have directions on how much space to leave between it and your next seed. No matter what plants you include, each one will need its own amount of space to spread its roots. Be conscious of this when placing your seeds in the soil.
Raised garden with vegetables and herbs
Last year’s garden thrived, producing plenty of basil, beets, tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes.

Building Your Tool Shed 

Last season, we recommended using comfortable tools to help your garden efficiently and comfortably. Simple additions to your shed can be ergonomic trowels, cultivators, and pruners which help ease discomfort associated with traditional tools, especially if you suffer from ailments like arthritis.

Refreshing Your Raised Garden Box

If you didn’t clean out your raised garden bed after fall, take time to dump out any old soil and replenish it with fresh garden soil. You may want to wait until temperatures warm to well-above freezing if your box has sat outside in winter conditions since October.
Homegrown potato from our raised garden
Keep your vegetables healthy by using linseed oil to protect your raised garden box instead of stain.
The soil in your raised garden may be frozen like ours. We left the soil in our raised garden box over the winter. With tons of rain, snow, and freezing temperatures, our box is extremely heavy with frozen soil inside it. Before attempting to dump the old soil, we will wait until the soil thaws.

Fresh, Organic Soil for Your Raised Garden

With the old out and the new ready to go, we’ve decided to continue using organic soil. Chemicals from inorganic soil will leech into your vegetables and herbs. From a health standpoint, we like to stay away from contaminating the plants we will eat with harmful substances. This also goes for staining our raised garden box. Instead, we use linseed oil. The oil protects the wood from rotting without giving off harmful chemicals into the soil.

Home For Life’s Accessible Garden

We’ll be planting a mix of vegetables and herbs in our accessible garden this year. Our new basil seeds are sitting beside our gear ready for when the weather breaks. We’ll also be adding tomatoes, beets, potatoes, and more. Some plants will not be grown from seeds like our peppers. We’ll look for lunchbox peppers in the spring at our local greenhouse. Remember to grab a trellis or two if you plan to grow anything that is a vine.

Who Should Use a Raised Bed?

Everyone can participate in planting an accessible garden. Raised gardening is a Universal Design concept. It allows people who have all types of physical limitations, such as being wheelchair-bound, the ability to be active and have a garden of their own. Because a raised garden can be built at table height, wheelchairs can easily roll under or beside the bed for easy access. Standing beside a bed is also much easier for people who have difficulties kneeling or bending over. However, it produces the same effect as a garden sitting directly on the earth.

What Will You Plant?

Now that you’re ready to start planning your garden in time for spring, what will you plant? Let us know on Facebook or LinkedIn!

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