Senior Friendly Container Gardens
Gardening is a fun, rewarding activity with a number of physical and emotional benefits. For seniors with mobility or range of motion issues, planting a garden of plants in raised beds, as opposed to on the ground, is a great way to enjoy the benefits of gardening, without compromising or risking health and safety.
Containers for gardening come in various forms. Window boxes, raised planter beds, and gardening pots are all excellent choices. Your local gardening center, home and garden store, or plant nursery, is sure to have a variety of options and sizes, sure to suit your needs. Commonly available are plastic or resin containers that mimic the look of traditional terracotta, without any of the bulk or danger of shattering.
Choosing plants for your raised garden is a simple matter. First, consider your goals. Are you looking to plant herbs and vegetables to supplement your diet? Or are you wanting to grow fresh flowers, to enjoy the aromas and colors of nature? Whatever your desire, there are multiple options to determine the best course. A seed catalog will show you pictures of the mature plant, along with all the info you’ll need for success. Another option is visiting a plant nursery and discussing your goals and space available with the employees.
When selecting your containers, there are several things to keep in mind. Metal containers, while sturdy and relatively lightweight, can overheat in the full sun and cook delicate root systems, in addition to the potential for skin burns. Wooden pots, if untreated, will rot over time from the constant exposure to moisture. Treated wood also has the potential to leach the chemicals used in the finish into the soil and root systems, harming the plant. Additionally, you’ll have to take into account the depth of the root system in the plants you’ll be growing in it. Intuitively, the deeper the root system, the taller the pot.
You’ll also need to consider the soil you use. The gardening soil available in bags at the stores is a mix of earth and organic compounds that provide better nutrition and water retention than simple dirt. Finding out the soil and nutrition requirements of your plants should be a simple matter, allowing you to find a pre-packaged soil that matches it. For seniors with mobility issues, ordering from a big box store will usually provide a home delivery option with little to no cost. Also keep in mind drainage, as accumulated water will cause the root system to rot and harm the plant. Ensure your pot has drainage holes, which you can cover with a screen to prevent dirt from washing out. A shallow layer of gravel or rocks at the bottom of the pot will also provide drainage in the event that holes cannot be added.
Also keep in mind your personal safety when gardening. Make sure to use appropriate sun protection, either with hats and clothing, sunscreen, or ideally a mix of both. Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration, and consider placing your containers near a water source, to prevent difficulties in moving hoses or water cans long distances.