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Enabling Gardens - Raised Bed Farming

Enabling Gardens - Raised Bed Farming

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Published by kjeldbertelsen
Garden Therapy, Gardening for the disabled
Garden Therapy, Gardening for the disabled

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Published by: kjeldbertelsen on Apr 24, 2010
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04/06/2013

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 Promoting Success in Agriculture for People with Disabilities and Their Families
As a successful farmer whohappens to use a wheelchair,Marshall Loskot has donnedmany hats: inventor andinnovator, carpenter andmechanic, recycler andresurrector-of-reusablegoods. Marshall toldCalifornia AgrAbility staff “I began my ‘dream farm’ in1991 after I was severelyinjured in a car crash, whichleft me with a spinal cordinjury at the T10 level. NowI farm and garden using amanual wheelchair, haveadapted my land for ease-of-use and accessibility andmarket my products from myhome to consumers acrossthe country.”One of Mr. Loskot’savocations is to educateothers with or withoutdisabilities on successfulfarming and gardening for  pleasure or profit. “Themethods I have pioneeredenable me to garden at aheight, taking strain off the back, allowing plenty of room for a wheelchair tomove freely around or under each bed.” According toMarshall, this is a type of “raised-bed farming.”CalAgrAbility staff askedhim to share some of thelow-cost experiments heused to build the garden of his dreams.Mr. Loskot’s first step infarming with a disability was
California AgrAbility
November 2004olume 3, Issue 3
Enabling Gardens: Raised Bed Farming
to find a reference guide for raised bed gardening. “The book,
Square Foot Gardening 
, is one of the bestreferences that I have ever read. Author MelBartholomew’s websitewww.squarefootgardening.comcontains orderinginformation. Mr. Loskotstates that the reference has been “invaluable in buildingmy soil and producing thelargest volume of vegetablesin a minimal amount of space.”In creating his raised bedsMr. Loskot had to beinnovative with his budgetand materials. He focused onaccessibility and beganexperimenting withergonomically correct raised- bed systems to eliminatefurther injury.
California AgrAbility Project
University of California, Davis
Dept. of Biological &Agricultural EngineeringOne Shields Avenue,Davis, CA 95616-5294Phone (530)752-1613or (530)752-2606Fax: (530) 752-2640Project Manager:
Martha C. Stiles
mcstiles@ucdavis.eduMedia Outreach/Editor:
Catalina Rivas
catrivas@ucdavis.edu
partnership between theUniversity of California FarmSafety Program (Cooperative Extension) and Easter SealsSuperior California.
Call Toll Free
1-800-477-6129For Spanish call
1-888-877-3257, ext 117
Mary Reyna
Case Manager & EasterSeals Coordinator
maryr@easterseals-superiorca.org“Because I was living on SSIdisability checks of $640 per month, most of myexperiments were driven bycosts.” He became theressurrector-of-reusable goods by using donated cement form boards, discarded roofing tin,and flashing. As you can seein the Photo 1, these materialscomprise the base and walls of the bed. Recycled water pipeand fire hoses were placed ontop of the sides to eliminatesharp-edge cutting hazards. Allwere constructed with onlyfour bolts and nuts. The bedsare about 22 inches across by 8to 10 feet long and 24 inchestall. As far as durability isconcerned, Marshall says,“The beds are still in use after fourteen years and will probably last another ten.” Hisonly complaint was that “theconstruction was very labor intensive.”
Continued on page 2
 Photo 1: Original raised-beds were created using reusable goods like roofing material.
 
Events
To minimize constructionlabor, Mr. Loskot found newuses for discarded objects. “Icommandeered discardedupright and chest freezers atno cost. These are ready-made beds, no constructionrequired! Now I haveappliance repair shops saving broken freezers andcontacting me for pick-up.”The appliance shops will alsodrain and recycle the coolant,eliminating environmentalhazards. According toLoskot, strawberries, blueberries, bamboo, andespecially asparagus love thisgrowing environment. Asshown in Photos 2-3 (below),the asparagus is in its harveststage and new crops of spears are harvested eachspring. They use the freezersin sets of two giving them a bed 28 inches across by 10feet long and 32
 
inches high
.
The Loskots planted two-year-old crowns two yearsago and now harvest freshorganic asparagus every 2-3days. They reserve the
Enabling Gardens
cont 
.
 November 12-14, 2004Abilities Expo/Northern CASanta Clara ConventionCenter. For a list of workshops, exhibitors, andfree tickets visit the web site:www.abilitiesexpo.com November 17 - 21, 2004American Public HealthAssociationWashington, D.C.Contact: National Children'sCenter for Rural andAgricultural Health andSafety, Marshfield Clinic,1000 North Oak Ave.,Marshfield, WI 54449.Phone (800) 662-6900 or Visit the web site:http://research.marshfieldclinic.org/children Nov. 18-20, 200414th Annual MidwestFarmworker Stream ForumHosted annually by the National Center for Farmworker Health (NCFH).Adam's Mark HotelDenver, CO Contact: Lisa E.Hughes, 800-531-5120www.ncfh.org
We’re on the Web!
http://calagrability.ucdavis.edu/ 
freezer beds for cultivarsneeding containment or for crops that are easilyharvested at this height. Theonly maintenance is addingone cubic-foot bag of steer manure in the fall andshredded computer-paper mulch twice a year.Recycler Loskot loves pointing out other environmental benefits,“appliances are recycled andkept out of our landfills, thefreezers keep pesky gophersout, freezing temperatureswill not heave plants, andthese beds conserve water.”To improve eye appeal, theycan even be sided with slateor wood.
Visit Marshall’s website:http://herb-blossom.com/.CalAgrAbility NEWS will beublishing other articleseaturing Marshall and hisunique farming ideas.
Recommendations For Raised Bed Farming
Install even surfaces for wheelchairs: concrete,decomposed granite, compactlevel dirt.
Brick walks arediscouraged because theymay heave.
If a grassy area is desired,openwork paving stones,which have holes for thegrass to be seeded through,are available.
A traditional lawn is toouneven and not appropriatefor person in a wheelchair or with impaired walking.
All gates or doors must bewide enough (at least 36inches) for a wheelchair to pass.
Gates and doors shouldslide rather than swing, andlight enough to move easily.
Ramps, along with gates,doorways, walks, and space between raised beds, should be a minimum of 3 feet widefor single-person l and 6 feetfor two persons.
Full sun or at least 6 hours aday is recommended for raised planters andcontainers, 8-10 hours for vegetables.
Mulching is a must withlarger raised planter. It slowsthe evaporation and helpskeep the soil cool for theroots.
[From Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061, Publication 426-020]
 Upcoming Events
 Photo 2: Recycle freezers as raised beds. Shown abovewith asparagus spears. Photo 3: Freezer with computer-paper mulch.
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