Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Here are some suggestions about the use of TOOLS.

• Remember some of the tools you have always used will be fine, but there are many tools available that will prove much more useful now. LOOK for them! You will find: ergonomic, lightweight, long-handled, spring –released pruners and scissors, there are also “cut and hold” tools for those able to use just one hand.
• Be sure to keep the tools in good condition to avoid needless cuts, scrapes and blisters. If you get red spots after using a particular tool, stop using it or fix the tool.
• Paint tools a bright color for those with visual problems…or anyone else! That way tools will NOT be left behind in the garden.
• Be sure to have a sitting, or kneeling apparatus that gives you something to lean on when you need to get to your feet. An upturned bucket is great for this purpose, and can also be pressed in to use elsewhere if needed! A good point to remember is it is often easier to carry two buckets half full, than one bucket completely full! Remember that “scoot chairs” with wheels are very helpful for washing the car or other “low to the ground” chores.
• I got a great idea from “Alice” on-line at my web-site http://ncmg.blogspot.com/. She says, “I made a simple bag about 14 inches wide and 10 inches deep, with long ties attached at either end of the side that is open. I can tie it to the handles of the wheelbarrow and never lose the tools amongst the rubbish now.”

Sunday, January 29, 2006


This is a continuation of my last post. I hope it isn't too long!

Should you worry about not gardening the way we used to? It’s not called “Adaptive” gardening for nothing. We need to ADAPT our minds as well as our gardens! Life is different now, so let’s see what works.

• Does the garden need some changes, or can you live with what you’ve got?
• Try raised gardens-they can be the most logical for all kinds of reasons.
• There are also hanging plants.
• Wall, trellis and arbor gardens.
• Espaliered trees, both flowering AND fruiting.
• Greenhouse gardening.
• Indoor gardening.
• Be sure your gardens are easy to get to if you need to tend to them regularly.
• Those that take care of themselves like perennials can be off somewhere on their own!
• Build, or have built, platforms in your garden where you can set things you need to get to, like tools or even trays of seedlings.
• Encourage “volunteers” or plants that self seed. They can be lovely and don’t need to be treated as weeds.
• Be sure the soil mixtures you use are easily worked. Use lots of compost.

Next time I'll deal with "tools". Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Well, I've begun the serious planning for my course on "THE AGING GARDENER; ACHES, PAINS AND CANES. ARE THEY COMPATIBLE WITH GARDENING?
I said I'd share some of my syllabus with you here, so let's take a look at the beginning.

We are living longer. Exercise is good for us. However, research shows that probably about 70 % of older adults are inactive!
• Gardening is considered low-intensity exercise!
• Exercise can help prevent coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, depression, and even some cancers.
• By staying active we will reduce the limiting effects of those diseases that tend to limit us in our mature years like arthritis and osteoporosis. It will help us keep our balance and therefore reduce falls. It helps us keep our independence!

We’ve been gardening forever. Now our bodies don’t work right. What do we do?
• Don’t be discouraged.
• Use your head, not your back!
• Get a tetanus shot!
• Wait until after your morning cup of coffee. While having that, plan your attack!
• Preferably work hardest after a rain. The ground is easier to work.
• Define what it is you are limited by and then find the proper tools.
• Find a child to teach, and have them help you. A grandchild fits these criteria well!
• Don’t be afraid to try something new!
• Use groundcovers instead of grass to reduce the need for cutting the grass.
• If possible, leave “taxing” chores to others. (A spouse, child, grandchild, a hired hand, etc.)
• Try not to get frustrated. Stop before you get to that point and try something else.
• Define what you are going to do before you begin and don’t get sidetracked.
• Be organized. Treat gardening like driving to town. Plan your route and don’t have to backtrack. Put the wheelbarrow, wagon or cart to use. Take everything you need with you so you don’t need to go back to the garage. IMPORTANT: BRING WATER TO DRINK!!!
• Don’t get discouraged. Look for success in small tasks.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


The wind is ripping through the trees and branches have been strewn carelessly around. The yard is a mess! The wind storm is relentless in it's damage. The only thing I can say is that it is breaking off lots of weak and diseased branches. Now doesn't that kind of "ring a bell"? What is the first thing you are told about pruning? First, remove the diseased and weak branches!
It appears that nature is helping us with pruning those branches we can't reach! During wind storms like this I often say, "God is pruning today!" You could say "Nature" or whatever else, but let's remember that we are not the ultimate gardener!
However, we are the ultimate "HELPER"! Get out there and pick up those branches. Or ask a spouse to help, or your children or grandchildren, if you are lucky enough to have them living close by.

Thursday, January 12, 2006



Start looking for those wonderful gardening catalogues!

This is a good time to check old seeds for viability

Remove any heavy snow from evergreens.

Put your Christmas tree outside to provide shelter for the birds.
You can also smear the branches with peanut butter mixed with corn meal.
The birds will love it!

Keep those bird feeders full

Any questions about January?