Gardening with raised flower beds.
Do you love gardening but struggle with one of the following scenarios?
- I love gardening, but my back, neck and sometimes my shoulder hurts afterwards.
- I am starting to find getting up and down from the ground a little awkward.
- I nearly lost my balance when trying to get up from the ground.
- I have been told not to do gardening unless I have raised flower beds.
- I am starting to get concerned I may fall trying to get down and up from the ground.
- My mum, dad or aunt’s etc. birthday is coming up. They can no longer safely garden, or they had to cancel their holidays. I thought this might help to allow them to do some gardening.
- I work long hours and have little time to do gardening, even though I love and find it relaxing.
Why not consider raised flower beds?
The Irish Osteoporosis Society believes they are one of the best inventions, as they allow those who always enjoyed gardening to continue doing so, just in a more comfortable, safer way. Raised flower beds are usually made of wood, concrete or crates and come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
The weather is thankfully good now, and garden centres have just reopened, so why not consider the following:
Contact your garden centre and ask if they have special hours for senior citizens to shop during the current pandemic crisis. If getting to the garden centre itself is not an option or items are too heavy for you to carry, could a family member or friend go instead? Or could items be ordered from their website?
Is your birthday coming up? If yes then instead of been given a gift you may never use, why not mention that you would like a raised flower bed?
The benefits to raised flower beds include the following.
- You do not have to try to get up and down from the ground.
- You can position yourself in a chair so that you are not putting excess stress on your back. Avoiding back stress is especially important for those with bone loss.
- You can grow flowers but also vegetables in them.
- There is less chance of excess weeds growing as growing space is less and you can catch the weeds earlier.
- You do not have to deal with stones etc.
Tips for using raised flower beds
- Have the height of the raised bed set to suit your needs precisely. If you need to sit as you potter, have a sturdy garden chair measured with you sitting on it. The ideal height of the raised bed would be around your belly button height. At this height, it means you do not have to bend down or reach up. For many people, this is difficult or causes discomfort or pain.
- If the weather is hot, you will need to water plants more often in raised beds as the soil dries out quicker. Never water when it is sunny as the flowers can burn.
- Use grass clippings or leaves as mulch around plants, as this will help to reduce weeds and help to keep the soil moist.
- Once a year you will need to add additional compost, before replanting.
- Adding new soil or compost replenishes it and makes nutrients available to plants.
Why not consider having an irrigation system put in?
You could install an irrigation system, so you do not have to water the beds. Ideally, this should be installed up before planting.
An irrigation system is great if you find carrying a watering can difficult to carry or balance or it hurts your neck or shoulder etc. The prices have come down over the years, so you do not have to spend a fortune unless you want to. They are a great help for those who love flowers but are unable to do the physical work connected with gardening.
Tips before doing any gardening
- Always bring your mobile phone in a pocket whenever you go out into your garden or your life alert, ensure it works in all areas of your garden.
- Ensure to wear non-slip shoes.
- Wear comfortable clothing. Remember if it is sunny and if you do not burn quickly, you can get your vitamin D from the sun. But after 15 minutes, cover up with sunblock or clothing.
- If you are going to get your Vitamin D from the sun, then you need to consider cutting down on your vitamin D from food or a supplement, you can check this with your doctor.
- Always be very careful when watering plants that you do not slip on any excess water.
- Buy yourself a comfortable chair for sitting and do not risk losing your balance.
- For those of you who do not have trouble with regular gardening at the moment, you might want to consider starting to convert your garden into a more accessible garden now by putting in raised beds.
The Irish Osteoporosis Society wishes you a wonderful gardening summer.