Easier Gardening

3 April 2024

The weather should be getting better and better over the next couple of months.  Those who like to play in the dirt, also known as gardening, are getting antsy.  Seeds are probably in hand and just waiting for the soil to warm up enough.

During the pandemic, many people took up the hobby or avocation of gardening.  There are health benefits for anyone at any age.  Whether young or old, or with any type of disability (even a temporary muscle strain or bug), or abilities, there are safety precautions and adaptations of traditional methods that are available.



One of the most difficult things is to be realistic about what can be accomplished in a session, whether it is a day or an hour.  Start with a list for the week and then break it down to daily tasks.

If you are working with a child or a novice of any age, adjust your time constraints to allow for demonstrations and explanations of why it is being done in a particular manner, order, or whatever.  Plan to review their work and offer suggestions.  It may take multiple explanations.  Smaller or inexperienced hands will not move as quickly as yours or as you would like.  Patience is difficult but a key element in success.

When you prepare your daily list, put the items in an order that will vary movements.  Spending an extended period of time kneeling and weeding is not only boring but very hard on the joints.  Likewise, carrying bags of soil, mulch, fertilizer, or landscaping timbers, or digging, will take its toll on muscles you never knew existed and can affect your posture.  Limit the time in any one position to 15 minutes, if possible.  Then move to something else.  Think of it as cross training.

easy gardening


Keep tools in good condition.  Those that need to be sharp should be taken to someone who has the proper equipment.  For instance, a pair of puners that are sharp will take less effort to cut through stems.

Clean tools before putting them away.  If you wash dirt off them, leave them in the sun to dry thoroughly before storage to prevent rusting.  Keep wooden handles smooth and free of splintering.

Make your storage space easy to access but still safe from tripping hazards or tools falling over.  Do your best to keep pets and small children safe. 

Always unplug power tools.  Be aware of where children and pets are in relation to tools, especially sharp ones.  If you are mentoring a child or novice, instill safety precautions in your tutoring.

Opt for lighter weight tools made from plastic, carbon, fiber, or aluminum.  Before buying, handle them in the store and think about holding it for 15 or 20 minutes.  Be sure handle lengths are appropriate for your height and reach.  Too much bending over will add strain to your back.  If you plan to sit, shorter handles will be better.  If the grip is too small, adapt it with layers of tape or a foam pad.

There is a device called a universal cuff.  This is to augment most hand-held tools to provide a more secure grip.  If you are shopping for anyone, but especially those who are a bit older, this is a wonderful gift.  In addition to the hand cuff is an arm cuff to support hands and wrists in order to decrease strain on the muscles and joints while digging or similar tasks.

There are any number of kneeling pads and benches.  Some of the benches will convert from kneeling position to sitting and others include a place for tools as you work.  You can also add a bag on the side for debris.  A wagon or cart is also a good idea to help with transporting various items and will reduce the chance of a trip and fall accident.

Lastly, invest in a couple of pairs of good gloves.  They give your fingers a solid grip and can prevent sticks and cuts, and infections, oh my!

Remember to rest, relax, and rehydrate.  As the days get warmer, time your work accordingly, if at all possible.  Wear a hat and sunscreen.  Bring your phone along, particularly if you work alone.  Most of all, enjoy the work, the results, and nature.

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