As I have mentioned often here on the blog, I enjoy gardening and enjoying the fruits, vegetables, and herbs from the garden in my kitchen. As Angie’s Multiple Sclerosis progressed over the years, her engagement and enjoyment of the garden decreased because of accessibility challenges. I had raised garden beds, but they were only six inches high, and even with her power wheelchair, she couldn’t reach that low to the ground. And the sad thing is, it was Angie who started our garden early in our marriage. She pulled me into the world of gardening and I really didn’t enjoy it in the early years. Over time, as I helped her with the gardens more and more, I began to gain my own love of the relaxation of gardening and the fun and flavors it brings to the kitchen.
The more I got involved and passionate about gardening, I was saddened to see her withdraw from her love of getting her hands dirty, tending the plants, and enjoying the harvest. So last year, I finally decided it was time to start making some significant improvements to our garden to make it more wheelchair accessible. Last spring, the men of our church volunteered to help me design and build a wheelchair path from our back patio to our garden. That path evolved into a full wheelchair width sidewalk via generous donations of time and finances. I saved money from that and over the next year, to this year invest in four Vego Garden 32″ raised garden beds.
Here you can see the accessible garden path and the Vego Garden beds being prepped this Spring. My neighbor came over with his tiller to help me loosen up the ground alongside the accessible garden path. Then my daughter, Emily, assisted me with assembling and placing these new raised beds.
Building these raised garden beds isn’t difficult, it just take a while. They come in kits from Vego Garden with very easy instruction. SO MANY nuts and bolts…SO MANY. Once set up, I mulched around the beds. I also filled most of the beds up with arbor mulch as it will compost over time providing more nutrients to the raised garden beds. I found an inexpensive way to acquire LOTS of mulch for filling all these raised beds.
Asplundh will drop off free piles of mulch if you request it when they are in your area. The pile was huge. Even after using all I wanted for the raised beds and to fill in the paths in the rest of my garden, I still had lots left over that I shared with neighbors and members of the church. It took two weeks for the pile to be used by lots of people. Had to replant the grass afterwards but that is ok. Free arbor mulch!
After the mulch, I added a layer of compost from a pile my neighbor offered to me. The final 8 to 10 inches of the raised garden beds were filled with garden soil then they were ready for Angie to enjoy!
Angie is able to reach two thirds of the way across these beds and helped plant each of the raised garden beds. She now helps me maintain them and looks forward to harvest vegetables and picking flowers soon, without my help!
So, what’s next? I have a small side opening greenhouse that I will be installing in the corner of the accessible garden path that Angie will have half for her to use and half for me. Also planning to purchase two or three more Vego Garden beds in the coming years to add more wheelchair height raised garden beds.
Any other suggestions you have for making our garden even more accessible for Angie? What have you done to share your love of a hobby with someone else?