Gardening When You Have A Chronic Illness

Don’t let chronic illness prevent you from your love of gardening. These tips and tricks will make it easy for you to continue your favorite hobby in spite of your illness.

Container Gardening

Get some containers and have them on a table or railing. Even if you’re confined to a wheelchair you can reach them to plant seeds or plant starts. Weeding will be simple because container gardening doesn’t leave much room for weeds. Ideal plants for container gardening are strawberries, tomatoes (consider upside down hanging tomato plants), radishes, lettuces, herbs, cucumbers, garlic, celery, bok choy and other similar vegetables.

Raised Gardening Beds

Raised gardening beds can be built to any height. These are ideal for arthritis suffers who find it painful to bend over and weed a garden. If you’re in a wheel chair they can work well also. Ideal if you’re suffering from back pain, raised gardening beds aren’t new to the circle of gardening. Any plants that are planted in a regular garden can be planted in a raised garden bed. Raised garden beds are similar to container gardening in that they require minimal maintenance for weeding. Build them 2 feet by 2 feed and you have an ideal garden plot that is easy to keep weeded and grow your favorite veggies.

Dwarf Fruit Trees

Dwarf fruit trees are designed to not grow past a specific height. In most cases this can be between five and eight feet. If they are kept pruned they can remain at the lower elevation which means it’s easier to harvest the fruit. Ideal for those who have an illness and can’t commit a lot of time to their gardening, the fruit can often be picked while standing flat on the ground. Minimal maintenance makes this an ideal way to garden.

Consider Smaller Gardens

If you can’t do raised garden beds and don’t have containers, you can still garden on a smaller scale. Reduce the size of your garden into 2 foot by 2 foot plots and arrange them in a few different areas of the yard. Don’t spend more than one hour per day on your gardening and you can break that up into 4 fifteen minute intervals. If you have 4 different plots you can spend a few minutes throughout the day gardening and still yield a very profitable vegetable crop.


Gardening potatoes when you’re suffering from a chronic illness is easy. Here are two fun ways to plant potatoes. Tires: put an old tire on the ground and throw in some soil. Plant 5 potatoes in the tire. Stack another tire on top and repeat. You can stack this as high as you desire. Water from the top down. At the end of the summer you can simply tip the tires over and harvest potatoes.

Washtub: You can take that old washtub of grandma’s and throw some potting soil inside. Throw in your potato starts and add a bit more of soil. Water as needed. At the end of the season you’ll have huge potatoes.

Gardening doesn’t have to be a chore, these methods make it fun and easy even if you’re suffering from a chronic illness.


Selecting the Best Gardening Tools

There is no need to spend endless amounts of money to fill up the tool shed with every new gadget to use in the garden. Even though the hardware store is filled with an endless supply of gardening rakes, shovels, and gardening equipment, a few essential tools are really all that is required.

Most gardeners can fully function in their landscape and garden by using the basic tools including a spade, stirrup hoe, pruners, garden fork, bow rake, and a cultivator. It also helps to have a leaf rake, and a Japanese garden knife to help with weeding, making furrows and to divide plants.

Purchasing Gardening Tools

Any basic gardener will understand the simplicity of their craft and the minimal amount of gardening tools they need to purchase or replace. Gardeners that have to deal with a variety of shrubs and trees will likely need to invest in hedge shears, bypass loppers, and a hand saw.

It is important to only purchase high-quality gardening tools. They tend to last longer, and are much simpler to clean. When possible, select stainless steel tools because they will not rust. However, high-quality often equals more money. But in the long run, quality tools help the gardener perform their duties because they are easy to sharpen, and more sturdy and durable. Purchase only hand tools for gardening that are crafted with ash shafts and forge sockets. This is because they tend to handle the stress and pressure of extensive gardening.

Study the Tool

Before making a purchase, completely study the gardening tool to ensure its quality. Determine whether the shaft of the tool was crafted straight, and that the wood grain appears to run down the entire shaft length. Stay away from any tool that has a painted handle, because the paint was likely used to disguise inferior quality wood. Hold the tool in your hand. This will help determine whether it is too light or too heavy for the job it will be used for. Purchase loppers, hand saws and pruners that have replaceable blades.


The best types of gardening tools to purchase are those that have multiple uses. Place back anything on the shelf that you know you will only use for one specific activity, such as planting a bulb. In all likelihood, you already own the tool that can do that specific job just as well, like your trowel. The only exception to this hard and fast rule would be the purchase of a long-handled weeder designed specifically for dandelions. This is because the specific tool makes it so much easier to maintain lawns.

Ergonomic Tools

The latest and most creative invention in the world of gardening tools are those that are designed ergonomically. These are phenomenal choices when selecting the best gardening tools because they are designed specifically to reduce injury and stress to the joints and muscles in the hands, arms and wrists.

Selecting the best gardening tools is the easiest way to enjoy the outdoor experience of tackling plants, shrubs and trees. Using the best equipment minimizes stress on your body, and maximizes the results in the garden.


Hydroponic Gardening

When most people think of gardening, they think of plants growing in dirt, but this isn’t the only way to grow plants. Hydroponics is another method to grow plants that doesn’t use soil. Many of you might be wondering how can you grow a plant without soil? Well, it is quite easy to grow plants without soil. To explain this, lets first explain how plants grow. Plants receive the bulk of their nutrients from the soil and these nutrients are basic minerals and vitamins.

When growing a plant without soil some type of nutrient free medium is used to hold the plant in place and the actual food and vitamins are feed to the plant via a complete fertilizer. I use the term complete fertilizer because most fertilizers are designed for plants that grow in soil, so they are missing a few key vitamins that the soil is expected to provide.

There are dozens of ways to construct a hydroponic garden. There are passive systems that do not use electronic pumps and bubble machines, and the plants simply grow roots that are submerged into the water. The Kratky method is a good example of this and is being used by commercial lettuce and vegetable leaf gardens.

Other methods use a recirculating pump to aerate the water to provide plants an abundance of oxygen and water. Some use misters that directly spray water on the roots of plants.

So, why would anyone want to do hydroponic gardening. There are several benefits to using hydroponics and I will list then bellow:

(1) Hydroponic plants grow faster

(2) Hydroponic gardens have fewer insects

(3) Hydroponic gardens grow bigger plants

Plants grown in hydroponic gardens grow faster and larger than plants that are grow in soil. How is this possible? This is possible because when plants grow in soil, their roots have to stretch and search for water. In a hydroponic system, plants always have access to well oxygenated water, this allows them to grow at a faster rate.

With hydroponics, you also deal with fewer insects and diseases. The soil that plants are grown in is often a major cause of infestation. The carries insect larvae and gives them the perfect environment to grow, you do not have this with hydroponics.

Another benefit of hydroponic gardening is that they are easier to maintain. You don’t have to carry around bags of dirt or deal with weeds. It is even possible to automate the water and feeding process so that your garden is self-sufficient.

Is hydroponic gardening better than growing in soil? This is a difficult question to ask. Hydroponics does have some major benefits over growing over soil, which we listed above. Better is such a value judgment. I will only say that hydroponics requires less maintenance.

As you can see, hydroponic gardening is a great alternative to growing plants in soil. It is easier to maintain, plants grow faster and bigger in hydroponic gardening. Give this method a try and you will be pleasantly surprise at how well it works.


What I Will Be Gardening This Year

Every spring I get really excited about everything I will be gardening for the year. I like to plant different vegetables because I really like the variety. I am hoping to have a big harvest this year.

I decided to build some raised beds this year. I am hoping that it will be easier for me. I won’t have to bend down as far and I can control the soil. I have a good friend who has had a lot of success with them.

I will be growing a lot of tomatoes this year. I love to eat them. I will be planting six of them. I will have two cherry tomato and the rest of them will be bigger for sandwiches and to make sauces with. I also plan to give some to my friends as I am hoping to have a large harvest.

I will also be growing bell peppers. I plan to have four of these plants. We like to use bell peppers in our salads or when making salsa. It will be nice to have our own in the backyard. We will have fun watching these plans grow.

We will be planting carrots this year. We have never done carrots but hear they can bring a wonderful harvest. We will be planting quite a few of them as we are a big carrot eating family. All of my kids love them and we tend to eat them 3-4 times during the week.

We will also be planting peas. I love peas and I have always wanted to grow my own. I plan to plant about eight of them as I know we will eat them all. I grew up on home-grown peas and can’t wait to try them myself.

We would also like to try green beans and we enjoy eating those throughout the season. We tried those last year and they were a big hit. We are excited about having more this summer. Everyone but my youngest son loves them.

We will also be trying to grow some flowers to add some color to the garden. We will be planting Sunflowers, Marigolds and Cosmos. I have never grown them before but hopefully they will grow nicely.

Next Saturday we plan to get started on the garden. My kids are going to help. They love gardening as much as I do. It is a lot of fun to garden with them. They get so excited when something new starts to grow.

My Mom always loved to garden and I think that is why I do too. She taught me the basics early on. For a long time I always kept a pretty small garden but this year I plan to grow a lot more.

I just feel so good when I grow my own food. My kids will eat it and I can share with my friends. I enjoy the whole process and will continue to do it year after year.


The Benefits Of Gardening

There are benefits to gardening that surpass the fresh air and exercise that one would usually associate with any semi-active outdoors activity. The improvement of mental and physical health are natural benefits of taking care of plants and nurturing them and harvesting the vegetables for the table is now a fact, according to experts.

Professors from the University of Texas and Texas A&M conducted a study of older adults and asked them how they would rate their levels of optimism, overall fortitude and resolution, and their zest for life. The results that gardeners ranked higher in these categories than did people who had no gardening activity proved to be an interesting finding.

Perhaps the activity of gardening could be a better antidote for depression than the profusion of anti-depressive drugs that have erupted on the scene in recent years. The use of these types of drugs has tripled over the past several years.

One obvious benefit of gardening is weight loss and a boost to physical health in general. One physical benefit of gardening is a pleasant surprise. The University of Arkansas conducted a study with 3310 older ladies and found that the ladies that worked in their gardens and performed other forms of working in the yard, did not have as high a rate of osteoporosis as other women who swam, jogged and who were involved with aerobic exercises.

The conclusion here is that many of the gardening activities such pulling weeds, carry heavy loads, digging holes, all act somewhat like weight lifting which is used in the treatment of osteoporosis in order to strengthen bones.

Another wonderful benefit of gardening is the lowering of the risk of diabetes. It is recommended that diabetes can be better managed if a person receives at least 150 minutes a week of exercise, and gardening certainly provides that. Also the fresh vegetables that a garden provides, adds another bonus. Other studies have shown that the incidence of diabetes is less where gardens are a prime backyard activity.

Aspects of mental health are positively influence by gardening. The benefits are so positive that horticultural therapy has become a pronounce field of medicine where people with psychiatric issues can better deal with their problems by participating in gardening activities. As a stress reliever, gardening is an enormous remedy. People who have dementia and anxiety have discovered that gardening calms them considerably and helps them sleep better. The Hush Blankets Team at Gotta Sleep have blankets that are proven to help people sleep better.

Gardening has become more and more an activity that people have taken up, not just as a means of growing food, but as a hobby and pastime. The stressful lifestyle that many people lead is assuaged to a great degree by time spent planting and tending the patch of dirt in the backyard. Gardening can be physically challenging too, which serves as a good workout. The bending, pulling, and hauling activities that gardening requires really do improve our physical and mental health.

Of course the produce that is grown in our gardens are going to be much better for us nutritionally than anything that we could find at the local grocery store, because nothing is fresher than vegetables that come from out of own garden.