Just this week we had the opportunity to offer a hands-on bucket garden workshop at a local Senior Center and the center was a buzz with talk of what plants they used to grow, what they tried to grow last year and questions about how to plant in other containers at home. Some budding bucket gardeners chose to cover their containers with a decorative contact paper to jazz up their bucket, while others headed straight for the cordless drill and got to work creating their planters. Not only were we able to bring another gardening option to those who once gardened as a way of life but we also provided the opportunity for some of the older adults to use a power drill for the first time in their 80+ years of life!
So among the potting mix, contact paper, plants & seeds, one attendee in particular was exceptionally pleased to plant green beans in her 5-gallon bucket. As life would have it, she found herself wheelchair bound and now her husband & son were in charge of taking care of the garden. She went on to share about how she was looking forward to keeping the plants up with her on the deck – where she could tend to the plants and harvest the beans. There is a renewed sense of purpose when you are able to plant, grow & harvest something from your own space.
Adaptations to consider for modified gardening:
- Use containers if traditional garden space is not an option.
- Elevate containers & planter boxes to table height for ease of planting, maintenance & harvest.
- Use self-watering systems that will reduce the number of times watering is required.
- Go vertical with trellising to reduce the need for large spaces and/or excessive garden acrobats.
- Choose planting material appropriately – buy dwarf or bush varieties of plants which are better adapted to growing in containers or smaller spaces, choose plant material with high contrast (i.e. yellow bush beans versus green beans) for gardeners with low vision or varieties that have good pest & disease resistance to ensure greater success.
- Arrange containers near a water source to reduce the amount of energy required to haul water to the plants.
One or more of these small adaptions in gardening methods and plant selection can allow many to continue to participate in one of America's favorite past times. Where there is a will, there is a way or where there's a bucket, there's a plant. Keep gardening!