Hi avid followers of this blog. I have a lovely post from Rich Fabend today. It is always truly compelling to see how he approaches his life and his experiences in creating adaptive equipment for his personal use. Below is a really neat post from Rich.
Would you like to raise some flowers and/or grow some vegetables for your own consumption? Raised bed garden boxes will let you do that and it is great exercise. Each spring the soil must be worked up and planted. During the growing season the vegetables must be weeded and thinned. If the weather is not cooperating the plants must be watered. The wilted flower heads must be picked off the plants (called deadheading) which is great exercise for fingers. A box does not take up much room if space is an issue. Prior to placing a box, the area under it must be prepared. This is not necessary if it will be placed on cement or any other solid surface. If placed on the ground you must assure good drainage.
The height of the box opening should be a few inches taller than the armrests of the wheelchair. The width of the growing area should be several inches less than twice the gardener’s arm length which will allow one to cover the entire planting area. Built from pressure treated lumber, the box is open on two sides so one can drive a wheelchair underneath it and work straight on.
The first year my boxes presented some unique problems because of the construction. The 2” by 8” which made up the planting area did not allow for the soil to be deep enough for vegetables so most of the vegetables planted did not grow very well. The following year, as you can see from the picture, we added about 3 inches to the height of the planting area. This allowed adding another 250 pounds of soil to the bed. Also, in an effort to cut down on moisture evaporation we added Hydro-Sorb to the soil. Hydro-Sorb retains water and releases it a little at a time. These two changes made the boxes much more successful. We did not find it necessary to increase the depth of the flower boxes.
I have 6 boxes, four I plant with vegetables and the other two with annual flowers. I enjoy working these boxes very much. I use adaptive garden tools which can be purchased online. The vegetable boxes can grow salt potatoes, broccoli, onions, baby carrots, beets and garlic. Gardening is good for many different reasons.