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Don’t you just love the taste of fresh tomatoes off the vine? They’re so juicy and taste so good that you could eat it like an apple? Or a crisp bell pepper that you just went outside and picked? But you have chronic back pain and gardening is a CHORE instead of being enjoyable – Until now!
I grew up with a small garden. I used to watch my mom snap beans and then can them in a very big and very scary looking pressure cooker. But it was fun to help get the soil ready and put in the seeds and then wait for the little bits of green start to poke out of the dirt. As a child, that was my definition of success! I was able to grow a plant.
Even better than planning, preparing, and planting was the taste of fresh vegetables from your own backyard. Now, as an adult, I still plant a garden every year and I can tomatoes and salsa for us to enjoy during the winter months. Knowing that those vegetables came from my garden when it was nice and warm always makes me a little happier in the cold winter.
But if you’re like me and have chronic pain, gardening is no longer a fun and enjoyable activity. It has become a very painful chore. I know if I try to plant my garden like I did when I was 20, I’ll be in debilitating pain for days! So here are 5 simple tips to help you plant your garden.
Tip 1. Elevated garden beds are raised containers that are weather and water resistant that you can put soil and plants in. These elevated beds are great to use if you have back pain. The bed is at a comfortable height so there’s no bending or stooping. It’s easy to put your plants in and then harvest your crops when they’re ready. I’ve been using this elevated garden bed for about 2 years and I love it! I can weed it everyday and not hurt myself.
Tip 2. Container gardening is another easy way to have fresh vegetables right at your door! You can grow just about anything in a container – even corn-on-the-cob! Burpee has a seed called “On Deck Sweet Corn” that will grow plants which produce small ears of corn-on-the-cob. I’ve bought these for the past 3 years. The ears are smaller than normal but they taste just as sweet. Want to find out what else you can grow in a container? This book will show you.
Tip 3. Weeds go hand-in-hand with a garden and using a traditional hoe, even for only a few minutes, will have my back screaming! But, a Hula-Ho (or a scuffle hoe) will quickly get rid of all those weeds and save your back. All you have to do is scrape this on top of the weed and it will pull the weeds out by the roots. I have used this for the past 8 years and I’ll never use a traditional hoe again!
Tip 4. Do you really need 5 zucchini plants? Probably not! Zucchinis, like many other plants, give a lot of yield per plant. With only 2 plants, I will have enough zucchini for me to use and freeze and give to my neighbors. I only plant 2 bell pepper plants, 3 tomato plants, 1 row of leaf lettuce and a couple of herbs. By planting appropriately, you will have the right size garden with enough plants for you and your friends.
Tip 5. Make gardening a group activity. When my children were younger, all the neighborhood kids would come to my house and help me plant spring flowers and my garden. They loved (just like I did when I was younger) seeing what they had planted start to grow and become a beautiful flower or a delicious tomato. Now, as a Mother’s Day tradition, my children come over and plant my garden for me. It’s a wonderful way to spend time with my family and get a little bit of work done that doesn’t hurt my back.
Using these 5 simple tips can help you enjoy fresh, homegrown vegetables of your own without you winding up in severe pain for days!
~ Until next time!