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My husband and I are both dealing with disabilities  RSS feed

 
Brenda Groth
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Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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I realized after going to the link that your book is about people dealing with disabilities..which both myself and my husband are dealing with. As a matter of fact my husband is now in rehab after emergency surgery but has been dealing with a closed head injury and physical disabilities since 1985..I was born disabled and deal with neuropathy as well..plus a hip replacement..so this is right up my alley.

I built a large hugel bed last year and planted it and it is somewhat helpful ..reaching the sides is fairly easy..but the top is difficult to reach as I have to put one foot up on the side and still can barely reach the top so I put "less need to access" plants up on the top like sweet corn, cabbage and squashes..

In a past garden I had a lot of raised beds and think that that is the way I'm going to have to go..but the high hugel bed is really hard to reach the top and the sides can be a stretch, but it is making some really nice salads !!

I'd love to hear of some of your ideas for dealing with disabilities in the garden..esp difficult reaches
 
Jen Shrock
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Posts: 363
Location: NW Pennsylvania Zone 5B bordering on Zone 6
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I feel for you Brenda. I have fibromyalgia, and I have finally come to terms that I have to pace myself and do everything in little bits and pieces. I give you credit for accomplishing the hugelbed last year. It sounds like, other than the height, it is working quite well for you. Is it possible to skim the top off a little to bring it down to a more manageable height?

When your jusband is better, is he able to help with any gardening projects? Do you use trellis' in your designs for vining things? You could even possibly grow some of the vining things up into trees, making them more reachable.
 
Mary Moss-Sprague
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Posts: 13
Location: Sodus, NY
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Hi, Brenda and Jen,

I read your posts with feelings of the utmost empathy, and yet I am encouraged that you both are taking proactive approaches to the problems.

While I don't specialize in or focus on gardening for people with disabilities, I tried to keep that reality in mind when I wrote my book. Any time you can get your plants up off the ground, you're moving forward on this issue. Yes, the straw bale "box" can be created in any size, height, general dimensions that work for you. People who do rudimentary carpentry could likely scale the box up or down whichever way is needed. My daughter, who's a woodworking whiz, built her boxes the same height but half of the usual width, as she wanted narrower ones. Other people have built them lower to the ground; some have built them a little higher. There are no absolutes in this--it's whatever works for the individual. One could also build simple platforms from cement blocks and 2 x 4's to hold containerized plants; that would raise them to a level suited best to the gardener's range of motion.

Interesting that you refer to these raised beds as "hugel" gardens; it's a term I've heard but with which I'm not really familiar. So, this site is going to be good for me to enlarge my scope of things--thanks!

--Mary
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Posts: 1320
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Mary, hugel is not a raised bed, that is why Brenda has reaching problems, because of the hight and because it is not narrow.
This is going up regular, as this is a "mountain chain" with no "cliff".
A hugel is full of wood beneath and covered with soil.
 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Here is Paul's article explaining Hugels. http://www.richsoil.com/hugelkultur/

They are a good solution for some mobility problems, IFF sized to the user properly as Brenda has lamented.

 
Mary Moss-Sprague
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Location: Sodus, NY
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Hi, Xisca,

Thanks for clarifying about the hugel gardens. I spoke to my master gardener colleagues about this at our meeting this morning, and one of them just completed an extensive permaculture course. She described and explained the hugel technique to us all, and I could see the interest was quite intense. (It also rang some bells in the back of my brain, and I realized I'd read about the hugel concept but had forgotten what it was called.) We are talking about creating a teaching module for this technique, just as we hope to present an "introduction to permaculture concepts" class in the near future. We all want to know more, and I advised them to check out this Website with all of the interesting forums and input.

There is so much to learn and do, and so little time--at least, some days it sure feels like that!!

--Mary
 
Terri Matthews
Posts: 469
Location: Eastern Kansas
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I got my oldest to put in a row of metal stakes for me, and they are spaced about 5 feet apart.

The tomatos can be tied to the stakes to bring them up high enough for me to conveniently pick, and this year I put peas and Topcrop beans between the stakes. The idea is, when the beans are large enough I can tie strings from stake to stake, on each side of the row of beans or peas. That way they will have some added support, and a big storm cannot mash them flat.

That was I will be spending less time sitting on the ground!!!
 
Mary Moss-Sprague
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Posts: 13
Location: Sodus, NY
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That's similar to what I do with my tomato plants in containers. I stick a tomato cage into the pot and then insert two wooden stakes, one on each side of the cage, inside the pot. Then I tie the stakes directly to the cage. That way, the pot doesn't blow over in our strong westerly winds, and heavy producing plants have plenty of support.

Keep being creative; that's how we make progress!

 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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I'll attempt to attach a photo or two of my hugel bed..it is filled with huge logs and we built a ditch first, removed the soil and sod, put in the huge logs and stumps and chunks of wood and brush and chips and then replaced the soil on top. A little problem with the top and east side drying out..west side is growing well, replanted the east side with some heat lovers like corn and peppers and squash that hopefully will work out better. Had spicey asian and italian greens but they bolted from too much heat.

There is some corn on the top, needs more water, and the squash that were on the top died. Even the tomatoes seem to have frosted but may be doing better now. Cabbages and lettuces and spinacha re doing wonderfully though.

I agree that flatter beds work out better..I have actually dug out the soil of beds, filled with wood and or chips and then replaced the soil fairly on the level and they are doing OK..but I think I would like them raised up a few inches higher and maybe narrower than what I have now..as it is hard to reach the centers of most of my beds..

My previous garden had aspen chipped mulched raiesd beds about 8" high and about 3 to 4' across with fruit trees growing in them and lots of perennials and annuals and even morels..but my son's house is in that spot now and since our housefire 12 years ago we have been trying to rebuild all of our gardens. I hope to get back to a similar set up as we had before as I don't like a lot of the things the way they are now.

one thing I do love is my soaker hose system..save me a lot of work and time
 
Mary Moss-Sprague
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Posts: 13
Location: Sodus, NY
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Hi, Brenda,

Wow, you're really creating some great growing areas--very impressive! Thanks for taking me into the world of hugel beds. We have a perfect spot for one where some tree limbs have been decomposing slowly and it's in a low spot, so I'm going to see how it goes.

Have you ever tried micro-drip irrigation vs. your soaker hose, or in tandem with it? I appreciate not having big puddly areas and others barely moist, which often happens with soaker hoses. So many people are afraid of the drip irrigation, but it's really not rocket science. Plus, the components last for many years and it's a very low-maintenance, easy way to get water to your plants.

 
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