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Accessible Gardening: The accessible garden we built.

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Forum: Accessible GardeningReplies: 12, Views: 246
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tombaak
High Desert, NV
(Zone 5a)

March 17, 2012
5:40 PM

Post #9046533

Our 12 year old daughter (who uses a power wheelchair) has always loved to garden. When she was little I used to just mover her from place to place but as she got bigger that didn't work anymore. So about 5 years ago we built this raised bed garden. It is 28 feet square, the beds are 2 feet high and 4 feet deep, the walkways in between the beds are 4 feet as well. We put the whole thing on concrete because we have HORRIBLE salt grass here and it would have quickly grown up into the beds.

There are some pictures of it being built on my FB page here https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.436746566484.238214.131788886484&type=3

It wasn't quick, and it wasn't cheap, but it wasn't very hard either. The only part that my husband and I weren't able to do our selves was the cement poor. We were lucky enough to have many friends and family come that day to help.

With the exception of winter winds destroying the lattice a couple of times (an easy fix) 5 years later is is holding up great! Our girls are 12 and 8 now and they still love gardening, especially harvesting! We start our veggies inside each year and plant them out when it warms up. The garden has made it possible for our oldest daughter to continue to do what she loves, and I have to say it sure is nice on my back as well!

Melissa

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tombaak
High Desert, NV
(Zone 5a)

March 17, 2012
5:46 PM

Post #9046537

Because the beds are so large we put bracing inside them so the weight of the soil wouldn't make them bow out.

We also lined them with weed cloth and put an inch or so of gravel at the bottom before adding to soil so the soil wouldn't seep out the bottom very much.

We also used angle iron on the corners, but a less expensive method would have been to put a 4x4 post inside the beds and screw the outer boards to that.

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tombaak
High Desert, NV
(Zone 5a)

March 17, 2012
5:50 PM

Post #9046538

The yard before, and the cement pour.

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tombaak
High Desert, NV
(Zone 5a)

March 17, 2012
5:54 PM

Post #9046549

Building pics

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Amargia

Amargia
SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL
(Zone 8b)

March 18, 2012
9:48 PM

Post #9048146

Oh, how cool! I'm off to check out your FB page. I would think gardening in your region is a challenge for EVERYONE. What will you be growing this year? k*
tombaak
High Desert, NV
(Zone 5a)

March 20, 2012
11:57 AM

Post #9050282

Hi Amargia,

This garden is pretty much used for tomatoes, summer squash, peppers, peas, beans, eggplant and herbs. Mostly the stuff that is harvested daily, that's one of the girls chores in the summer. Somehow the cherry tomatoes in particular almost never make it to the kitchen ;)

We use another part of the yard to grow corn, and winter squash. We used to grow a lot of melons, but the local ground squirrels have figured that out and have decimated them the last couple of years.
cando1
Ozone, AR
(Zone 6a)

March 20, 2012
7:11 PM

Post #9050765

Hi Tombeck. I love your garden too. My cherry tomatoes never make it inside much either.(They also taste better outside LOL)
kUDOS to your daughters.
Vickie
Sansai87
Midland City, AL

March 25, 2012
1:44 PM

Post #9056559

That looks like a good place to chill out in addition to being useful. We learned the hard way about bracing when building and earthen wheelchair ramp.
lol. Kay (amargia) gardens blind, but she thinks gardening outside the tropics or subtropics would be a REAL challenge. I think we've finally convinced her that snow really exists. :-)
Can you grow basil? It benefits from being frequently harvested. I loved harvesting the different basils when I was little.
When a certain little boy helps with our spring harvesting it is snow peas that disappear between the garden and the kitchen. ~N~
tombaak
High Desert, NV
(Zone 5a)

March 26, 2012
12:30 PM

Post #9057828

Hi Sansai87, We grow TONS of basil! Two or three times during the summer we cut it down to about 2" and make massive amounts of pesto which we freeze in dinner sized portions in ziploc bags. As the summer comes to an end we let it go to seed. We haven't needed to plant seeds for 3 years now because of letting it go to seed.

This year we'll have to though because over the years the level of the soil has dropped about 3" as it breaks down, so we are adding soil this weekend. Even though we'll mix it in well, I think the vast majority of those itty bitty basil seeds will be buried way too deep to germinate.

BTW, we let our arugula, parsley and cilantro go to seed at the end of the summer too, saving planting those.

It gets pretty windy here in the winter which does take the seeds to odd places, sometimes when we are mowing down wind of the garden you'll suddenly get a huge whiff of arugula. I even noticed a plant in the pasture across the road from us :)
koshki
Grosse Pointe Shores, MI
(Zone 6a)

March 26, 2012
2:11 PM

Post #9058011

Wow, how wonderful! It reminds me the book "The Secret Garden", a big favorite I read when I was a little girl.

carrielamont

carrielamont
Milton, MA
(Zone 6a)

April 28, 2012
2:20 PM

Post #9101465

Hi, Tombaak, I admired your wheelchair garden when you first posted but I thought I would never need to know since we already have our system of growing in containers. Well, will wonders never cease, DH has a accepted a position at the D/FW airport. We're going to keep our Massachusetts house for retirement (2-3 years away) because we have spent so much time and energy (not to mention money) making the house perfect for us.

We are renting a house in Texas, the relocation company will move empty pots but not plants, (moving a car is cheaper than reimbursing us for gas and other strange little tidbits like that), and we signed a lease saying we would "maintain the lawn" on this little house in TX. It has a tiny little hot sunny patio. I'm looking at your raised beds trying to figure out how to get at the plant past my legs and foot rests. Advice? My husband volunteered to build me something (in his copious free time, cough cough) but I'm not sure what he should build.
tombaak
High Desert, NV
(Zone 5a)

May 1, 2012
9:33 AM

Post #9105553

I can't imagine moving! After all the $$$ and sweat equity we've put into ramps, bathroom remodels, the garden, the elevator!!! It was actually less expensive to put a residential elevator into this house than to widen hallways and doors of other houses we were looking at.

It sounds like you are pretty tight on space. We have these big fake terra cotta pots we bought at Costco on our deck which is really hot too. They are about 2' tall and double walled plastic so they don't dry out overly quick and they are a bit insulated in the winter. They are amazingly light for the size. If you get the hot wind like we do, I would try and stay away from any pots that aren't plastic or glazed, the clay ones dry out here in a matter of hours :(

Is there area other than the lawn that you can build a raised bed? If not, the deck might be strong enough to support a narrow one. You would just have to make sure that there was a bit of air circulation between the bottom of the raised bed and the deck or you might risk rotting the deck. We put strips of lath under our wine barrels after we noticed the deck was being damaged. Even though lath is super thin (and cheap!) it was plenty of room to allow the deck to dry.

Do you have a good renter for your place is Mass? I hope they keep all your plants happy.

Melissa

carrielamont

carrielamont
Milton, MA
(Zone 6a)

May 1, 2012
11:52 AM

Post #9105772

My older DD is renting the house in MA from us, then we plan to ultimately return to this house to retire. So we're not completely theowing away the $$ and energy and thought we spent on this house. She SAYS she will keep up our perennials!

Yeah, I think I've seen similar big fake plastic pots! I will remember what you said about terra cotta pots--they look nice but even here where it is humid and cool, they are hard to keep watered. I can't IMAGINE out west where it is dry and hot! If you can do it, then so can I, right? Right? Even if I stay inside in the AC for two years, then we slink back home, it would be ok.

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