Depending on your age, health and mobility, gardening-related chores can sometimes be a little more difficult for seniors. The following tips and tricks will help your garden grow while avoiding strain and pain:
Use extra tools if you need them.
If you have difficulty using gardening tools, don’t let that deter you. Umh.org suggests using foam grips for the handles of your tools to make them easier to hold. “Grabbers,” which can help you reach when you’re seated, are also recommended, as well as a garden caddy to help make your tools easier to carry.
Choose native plants.
Choosing native plants can help you put less work into your garden, The National Wildlife Federation points out. They require less work and often thrive on less water, so you won’t have to move your hose or tote a watering can as often. For more information about which plants are native to Georgia, visit the Georgia Native Plant Society’s website.
Try going vertical.
When you can do so, plant a garden that grows vertically on trellises, outside walls or fences to save wear and tear on your lower back and knees, The National Wildlife Federation says. They’re particularly well suited for decks and patios if you don’t have a large yard. Just don’t let these gardens grow beyond your arm’s reach so you won’t have to stretch too far.
Use raised beds.
If you have room for raised beds, Judy Lipis of Northeast Atlanta told Atlanta Jewish Times, they make gardening easier since you don’t have to bend down as far. In addition, if you live in an area that has a lot of red clay in the soil, you may usually end up with oddly shaped carrots since they have to grow around chunks of red clay. Raised beds also helps you avoid this.
Get help from Atlanta experts.
Expert gardening advice is just a phone call or email away with the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Plant Hotline. Call 404-888-GROW (4769) or email planthotline@atlantabgorg with a plant or gardening question, along with your contact information. A Master Gardener will return your call or email with an answer.
Know what blooms when.
To keep your garden blooming as long as possible, choose plants that blossom at various times throughout the year. Check out Atlanta Botanical Garden’s list of what’s in bloom each month, which also includes helpful information about each plant, such as its size and how it’s often used in a garden.
Combat yellow leaves on roses.
Black spot, a common rose disease, can be spotted by its tell-tale yellow leaves in roses throughout Atlanta, according to Walter Reeves, who’s known as “The Georgia Gardener.” The best way to avoid this, Reeves said in a recent online column, is to plant disease-resistant roses, such as Earth-Kind or Knock Out varieties. Fungicide can also be used, but it’s time-consuming since you’ll have to apply it every seven to 10 days. You’ll also need to swap chemicals after two applications, Finally, make sure to replace roses’ mulch each fall to avoid black spot.
Amend your soil.
Gardenhoodatlanta.com recommends improving your soil – which is likely to be mostly clay — with a premixed bag of amender. This contains a mix of soil conditioner, organic fertilizers and rocks or sand to help with drainage. The amender should be mixed 50-50 with the native soil so you’re improving it rather than replacing it.
Plant garden herbs to enjoy in your kitchen.
Planting herbs like basil and thyme can give your recipes a boost of fresh flavor. Reeves writes that they grow best when their leaves and branches are harvested regularly. This is ideally done just before they flower, since the leaves then contain the most amount of essential oils. Cut them early on a sunny day.