Wheelchair Accessible Gardening
When I was a young mother living in South Florida, I loved to go with my little girls to the Homestead Miami farmlands to pick fresh strawberries.
This was very reminiscent of my childhood, where my stepfather would take me into the Pennsylvania mountains, and we would pick fresh sweet blueberries and raspberries. I wanted to have the same experience with my girls who were joyful and energized best friends just two years apart, and they loved it!
But due to my being in a wheelchair, I would have to sit at the edge of the field where we parked and watch their father escort them into the public “you pick” fields. This experience was similar to what most parents in wheelchairs experience with most things like playgrounds and beaches, ice-skating rinks, sports fields, etc. You get the picture.
But now thanks to some really cool innovative and inclusive farmers there are lots of new options out there for those who want to Play the Field!
Not only can we plant our own gardens but we can go pick fresh produce from gardens all across the country!
Below is a list of some local farms which are now wheelchair accessible! If you don’t have any nearby, perhaps you can send this article to your local Farmers Markets or “You Pick it” fields and ask them to consider making their businesses accessible too! It is really easy and will make a huge impact on making their produce #equalopportunityfruit!
Roger’s Farm – Near Gainesville
At the end of March, Roger’s Farm introduced a wheelchair- and handicap-accessible portion to their strawberry fields. The strawberries are planted into repurposed pipes that are constructed at three different levels. The highest is at about 4 feet.
The new project allows people to pick strawberries when ordinarily they couldn’t walk through the narrow rows of the fields or bend over to pick strawberries from the ground.
Stephens’ mother came up with the idea to get the strawberries off the ground. His grandfather took the idea and ran with it.
About 300 feet of old irrigation pipes laying around form the base. Offshoots of the plants in the fields were cut and planted into the pipes to grow new berries. Drip tape runs through all of the pipes to get water and fertilizer to the plants.
Because the strawberries are hanging from the pipes and not potentially sitting in rainwater like those in the fields, Stephens has noticed that fewer strawberries are being damaged.
“It’s a pretty nice setup for just trying something out,” Stephens said.
Read more: https://www.wuft.org
Forsythe Family Farms – Cragg Road, Greenbank
Mountain Orchards – Clark Road, Mountain ON K0E 1S0
Richmond Country Farms – Richmond, B.C.
Now here are some great ideas for accessible at home gardening
Access to the Garden https://www.facebook.com/GardenAccess/ is a great place to start your accessible gardening adventure! Brenda B Parent, the site’s wealth of knowledge demonstrates first hand with stunning photos that provide all the inspiration you will need. Ask away on her page as well and comment on her newest accomplishments…as she truly cares about making the world a more beautiful place for all of us!
Gardman 4-Tier Mini Greenhouse
This greenhouse is available on Amazon, or you can find on Aldi.
Not only is gardening, economical and healthy, but it is also good for your mental health and spirit!
This effect is documented in the new study by The Healing Power of Gardens: Oliver Sacks on the Psychological and Physiological Consolations of Nature.
“In forty years of medical practice, I have found only two types of non-pharmaceutical ‘therapy’ to be vitally important for patients with chronic neurological diseases: music and gardens.”
Purchasing or Making your own raised Garden Bed
Now, if bending over and reaching the ground is not something your desire, or want to do to help tend to your gardens, then you can consider an elevated planter.
One of the best ways to get started is to purchase a raised garden bed like this one. These handcrafted elevated structures made out of pine, have a steel bottom to ensure long life and lightweight. The garden is protected with a light water sealant. You can paint, stain or leave it as is to weather naturally. Best of all it has clearance from ground to the bottom of the garden of 28 inches! Perfect for rolling beside and planting from a seated position.
Buy more than one and make a planters pathway!
Or make a vertical wall like this one from Smart Garde Center.
One of my favorite health inspirers Kimberly Snyder makes this suggestion: “If you have limited time and space, I recommend getting a potted tomato plant to kick things off. You can get used to caring for that little plant baby…and nothing will taste better than the fruits of your labor!”
Now, what to plant?
Happy Gardening #PUSHFlowers! #PUSHVeggies!
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