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.