Tips & Tools to make Gardening Easier – Part I
Now that spring is here I’ve been spending a little more time in my flower beds. Gardening and yard work can be rough on fibromyalgia, but in this post I will share some tips and tools that can make it easier. I know that doing such physical work may exacerbate my symptoms, so I only work in the yard when I’m having a decent day fibromyalgia-wise. This means that I’m experiencing lower amounts of pain and fatigue. I try to limit my time working to 15-30 minutes per day, but my favorite thing to do is little 5 minute sessions. In 5 minutes I can pull or spray all the weeds in my flower bed or I can deadhead flowers or I can water a few flowers. I don’t think I’ve ever been sore after one of my 5 minute sessions, but working for 30+ minutes can leave me sore or in pain for 1-4 days, depending on what I was doing.
I use many tools to make gardening easier. I start off by putting on some gardening gloves, which prevent my skin from becoming irritated, being cut or getting filthy. The next item I grab is my kneeling cushion. This is good for sitting or kneeling on and is one of my favorite items. If you’re working on a fairly flat surface, consider using a bench, like this neat combo seat/kneeling cushion with handles. For digging, I use an ergonomic hand trowel that the maker says, “provides more leverage with less wrist stress.” Last year I switched to light-weight, easy to handle, flat garden hose. The water pressure isn’t quite as strong, but having an easy to get out, move around and put away hose makes watering flowers SO much easier! Watering flowers used to be a chore I dreaded in the summer, now I don’t mind it.
I almost exclusively plant perennials. It takes a lot of work to dig and plant flowers and there is NO WAY I could re-plant most of my flower bed every year. This allows me to focus on sustaining the plants I have (weeding, watering, trimming, etc…) and maybe adding a couple new plants each year. To keep weeds down I cover my flower beds with a thick layer of compost. When I am weeding, I fill up an old 1 gallon plastic flower pot. It is light weight and easy to dump when I’m finished.
Another key for me is talking with the Master Gardeners at my local nursery to figure out what plants will be a good fit for the climate and the amount of energy I can give them. I kept killing the pansies, primroses, etc… that I had in little pots because I just couldn’t water them as much as they needed. After talking with my nursery they suggested I plant succulents (need watered less) there and they’ve been working out wonderfully!
I share more tips & tools in Part II. What are some of your tips & tools to make gardening easier?