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I’m a married 31 year-old who has been diagnosed with fibromylagia for 12 years. I am on a quest to raise awareness and help others by sharing information and staying positive. Read more
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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?

A few of my favorite gardening tools


Comment from HealingWell
Time May 2, 2011 at 9:13 am

Time to get started, just waiting for warmer weather and looser joints :) ~ Peter
HealingWell recently posted: Maintaining Balance or Somethings Gotta Give


Felicia Fibro Reply:

Yes, looser joints make it much easier! I didn’t mention it in my post, but doing stretches before you get started can also be very beneficial.


Comment from Cathy
Time May 2, 2011 at 12:07 pm

I didn’t do anything for a few years because I just couldn’t and it just made me so sad. I finally realized that I could handle just a few containers, and it changed everything for me. Now I have a few containers by my back door and it makes me so happy! A few for flowers and a few for tomatoes and herbs and I’m back in business. No weeding, just watering, a bit of deadheading. Planting is easy because potting soil is extra light. Give it a try if you can’t do anything else! Don’t let pain stop you from enjoying the growing season.


Felicia Fibro Reply:

Container gardening is a great idea, besides the smaller area the elevation of the pot/container can make it easier to physically work with. Thanks for sharing how you made gardening less painful and the joy that it brings you!


Comment from Monique
Time May 2, 2011 at 1:36 pm

Got any ideas on how to keep a rose bush from dying? I planted a Queen Elizabeth when I bought the house almost 9 years ago. When I first started getting sick, it took a hit, but I was able to nurse it back to health.

This go round, not so much. I told the hubby the other day that it looks like I’m gonna have to pull it up. He just fell out laughing and reminded me that I don’t throw out flowers until there’s so much dust on them that I can’t tell what color they were. I think it could take years for an outside plant to accumulate that much dust.
Monique recently posted: a new adventure


Felicia Fibro Reply:

Sorry, Monique, I don’t have much experience with roses. I’m always sad when I have to give up on a plant and dig it up. When I see a plant struggling, I take pictures of it and then take those pictures into my local nursery and ask them what they suggest I do with it. If you can’t go in, maybe you could call and ask if you could email them pics. Good luck!


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