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Accessible Gardening for Therapeutic Horticulture

Accessible Gardening for Therapeutic Horticulture

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Accessible
Gardening
forTherapeuticHorticulture
http://www.extensim.m.dddistribution/harticu1~6757.html
-
FO-067571996
To
Order
AccessibleGardeningforTherapeuticHorticulture
Jean Larson,
Horticultural Therapist
Anne Hancheck,
ormer Minnesota Extension Horticulturalist
Paula Vollmar,
Horticultural Therapy Intern, University of Minnesota
Copyright
O
2008
RegentsoftheUniversityofMinnesota.
All
rights
reserved.
Do you recall times in the garden when, after weeding a row of flowers, you had more energy?
Or
after a walk outdoors, you felt more peacefbl? If so,you experienced the therapeutic benefits of horticulture, and you are one of many who retreat to the garden to relax, renew energy, create a sense ofplace, and restore self-esteem.
Therapeutic Horticulture
is the purposefhl use of plants and plant-related activities to promote health and wellness for an individual or group.
A
gardenbenefits you on many levels. One seemingly
magical
effect of gardening
is
stress relief Emotional benefits of gardening may derive in part from the senseof the natural rhythm of life that plants and gardens impart. It can divert thoughts about yourself and your situation. In the garden, you can create andcontrol your environment.
This
control is empowering. Gardening stimulates
all
of the senses, giving great pleasure and satisfaction. You can design agarden to challenge your strength and balance, or promote eye-hand coordination, range-of-motion, and endurance to just about any degree you want.Cognitively, gardening benefits the mind. Designing a garden and learning about plants and specific gardening techniques can be done in a number ofsimple or complex ways. And with books or classes, you can learn new things year-round.Besides these benefits, gardening brings you together with other people. Human bonds created between gardeners have the potential to transcend socialbarriers. Gardens invite socialization. Bringing plants and people together promotes cooperation. The garden neither judges nor discriminates. It's a safe
 
Accessible
Gardening
for
TherapeuticHorticulture
environmentwherepeopleofallages,backgrounds,andabilities
can
cometogether,connectedbythesimplefactthatweallrelyontheearthtosurvive.
I
What is an accessible garden?
icc,ordingtotheMerriamWebsterdictionary"accessible"means
the
'capacity
toenterorapproach,togetatorgainaccesstosomething,"
',,JI~II
,
lhoughtlfullyplanned,anaccessible gardeneliminatesphysical
and
attitudinal
barriers
togardening,creating
an
areawherepeopleof
all
ages
andabilitiescangarden.
All
you
needareafewsimpleadaptationsto
the
trea,
methods,andequipme
.
Generationstogether
in
thegarden.
1
I
AccessibleGardenContainers
Raisedbeds
arelargebottomlessboxesthatcontainsoilandpermitdrainagebelow.
Since
they
can
beexpensivetobuild,raised
beds
shouldbeusedin
areas
ofthegardenthatrequirethemostfiequentattention.Forinstance,itmakesmoresensetobuildaraisedbedfbrvegetablesrequiringintensive weedingthanforalow-maintenanceborderofshrubs.Buildraisedbedsaslarge
as
possible,makingsurethatyoucanreach
all
areasofthebed.The increaseinsizeadds
minimal
costtothebed,whileaddingvaluablegardenareaBedwidthshouldbea
maximum
of5feetif
it
is
accessiblefiomallsides,
or
2.5feetifused fiomonlyoneside. Ifusingextendedtools,you
can
addinchestothebed.Seatingledgesshouldbefiom
8
to
18
incheswide.Usethethimestconstructionmaterialspossiblewithoutcompromisingstability,to
increase
the
area
availableforthegardener.Heightofthesides
can
varyfiom18inchesforachild,to
24
inchesforsomeoneseated
in
achairnexttothebed,to 30inchesorhigherforthestandinggardenerwhohas ditEcu1tybendingdownward.
Boxesandpots
ofvarioussizesprovidesuccessfilwaystogrowvegetablesandflowers.Chooseapotthatwillallowforhealthyrootdevelopment.For instance,bush-typepeas,beans,cucumbers,kale, broccoli,andlettucedowellinabox
that
is
1-by-4feetand
8
inchesdeep.Forsomeotherplants,such asbeets,carrots,onions,lettuce,leeks,turnips,kohlrabi,
corn,
and
zucchini,
aboxthat
is
2-by-3feetand
8
inchesdeep
is
moresuitable.Forherbsand floweringplantsand
vines,
indoutwhethertheplant
is
deep-orshallow-rootedtodeterminethepropercontainersize. Themoreshallowthecontainer, thefaster
it
will
dry
out.
Hanging
baskets
cancreateplantingspacewherenoneexists.
Or,
combinedwithacontainergarden, they
can
giveyouadouble-deckergrowingarea Tomakewateringandviewingeasy,buyaratchetpulley.
Or
make
yourown
pulley,using steelhooksorringsclampedormountedtorailingsorwalls.
A
longmetalpolewith
a
curvingtophook
can
beanchoredinthegroundfbr
a
freestandinghangingplantmount.Baskets
can
behung
high,
orifyou
 
Accessible Gardening for Therapeutic Horticulture
have limited mobility, hung low enough to see and enjoy their beauty.
Table planters
are shallow soil-filled trays supported on legs. About
27
inches of knee clearance is needed to allow chairs to fit underneath. The soilcontainer should be at least
8
to 10 inches deep, making the entire structure about
35
to
37
inches high. The top of the planter should be no higher thanyour
rib
cage. Width of the box is the same
as
that of the raised bed, already described.
Deep boxes, barrels, and tubs
can be used to create miniature raised beds for flowers, vegetables, and herbs. Perennials, trees, and shrubs are notrecommended for these types of containers because plants cannot survive in them when the temperature is fieezing or below fieezing. Use thesecontainers for your annual plants only.
-
Plants
-,
2
in
accessibl-darden
LUL
,
Therearemanynewvarietiesofplantsthatareappropriatefortheaccessible gardencontainer.Lookforplantslistedasicompact&e.g."Pixie" tomatoes).Compactplants
will
typicallybemoresuitableforcontainergrowingsmaller
and
easiertoreachifyouuseawheelchair.Alsolookfortal' plantsorvinesthatreachacertainheight,thusmakingthemgoodchoicesforgrowingonpoles, stakes,andtrellises.Chooseflowersnotonly accordingtotheirlightrequirementsandshape,butalsobytheircolors,textures,andeagrances.
Considerations forCreatinganAccessibleGarden
Water
Makesurethatwaterisavailable,closetothegardensite,andinapavedareasothegrounddoesnotgetmuddy.Place thespigotat
24
to
36
inchesabovegroundanduse handlevers(notroundspigothandles)andsnapconnectors.Soakerhosesandmulchwillalsoreducewateringneeds inthegarden.
Plant Choice
To aid in the harvesting of plants, use contrasting or bright colors. Some plants naturally contrast their ripening hit against their foliage, such aspurple-podded bush beans or golden zucchini. Select plants that are high producers per inch of growing space, with interesting textures and
fragrances.
Use plants that people want to grow or eat.
Emergencies
Make provisions to summon assistance for potential medical or police emergencies.
A
wheelchair-accessible parking space near the garden ismandatory for public gardens, both for persons with disabilities and for medicallpolice access. It is not mandated at private homes.
Paved Surfaces
Garden path surfaces must be
firm,
smooth, level and provide traction. The grade of the path should be between
5
and
8
percent. Provide directroutes throughout the garden. Use edge guides if you have ambulating andlor visual disabilities. Audible water features and wind chimes also helporient you through the garden. One-way traffic needs a five-foot minimum width to accommodate the turning radius of a wheelchair. Two-way

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