Gardening With A Disability - The Choices We Face


Who would have thought that I would be thinking about gardening with a disability?  But here we are. If you don't already know, I was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome in  January of this year. I am coming back - but it's going to be a long road! Which puts us into a bit of a pickle about this summer. How do we garden this giant garden when the main gardener (me) is not able to do the physical work of it?  (Who knows - maybe I will be! But, it's unlikely I'll be able to to move with ease in the garden this summer.)

So - considering this, I am reviewing the following choices.

1)  Do not have a garden in this 2015 summer production. Earlier this winter i read an editorial in Organic Gardening Magazine. The writer is considering taking a “year off.”  The rationale indicates some times a break is good for the psyche.  Give the land a rest and also the intense labor a break.  Sounded reasonable and given the dedication necessary it had an appealing message.

I admire this magazine’s advice and reading one of the major editors was suggesting this provides support for the suggestion. (Check out the Organic Life Magazine Dec/Jan Issue: Maris’s View, “Going Fallow”)

This is my least favorite option. It may be the one that we end up going with, but I would rather we find a way to make something work.

The Cabin Garden

2)  A much smaller garden.  Our garden is 100 feet by 100 feet. This choice would likely mean a garden 20 by 20 with limited items planted.

This might be the way to go. Or, maybe we accomplish this by doing some of the other options below...

3) More Family Participation.  In the past, I have gladly done 90% of the labor. Given my present physical situation, the family would have to commit to even more time and labor.

I am retired with a good deal of free time, and my family all have busy work and family lives. The Cabin Garden is 90+ miles from our families employment area. Hmmm?  Probably not going to be likely, though they've all made generous offers to help!

Last Harvest 12

4)  Pay Someone.  Hire out the labor.

Too expensive, hard to manage and who would want to do such work?  But perhaps we could find someone who would be willing to help if they also benefited by working for some of the garden goods. A community garden of sorts?

Which brings me to the last option:

5)  Provide a % of the garden to a group.  Find a group in this rural area that would put the labor into the garden to reap the crop, with the agreement they care for the other remaining % for me. We have rich soil, many seeds to use, we have many advantages for quality growth, I will be available for management ideas. Ideally, I would focus on a group that would use the food for “meals on wheels,” food shelves, or other community needs. Would anyone do this??

Kids Harvesting Onions

We haven't made any  decisions yet.  I have to do some investigating and promotion. As part of this site..your thoughts are welcome!

What do you think?  Any ideas or suggestions for us as we contemplate this?