There are many techniques or adaptations that can be made to tolls to take the pressure of your fingers, hips, knees, or other joints. Try to gently use your joints, and stretch your muscles, not push your body to the point of exhaustion.
Creating an Enabled Garden
Take the time to think out your garden, as this will help to greatly reduce the amount of stress on your joints. Determine what plant requires what care, and place accordingly. If you’re planting a flowering annual, that requires constant upkeep, try placing it next to a bench, so you can sit while your prune it.
Raised beds often require less bending and kneeling, so they are good options for plants that need a lot of care. Try adding benched or handrails to areas that require a lot of kneeling or bending, these will help you to lower or raise yourself, taking the stress of your knees. Adding benched with supportive backs is a good idea and encourage breaks and comfort.
Make sure your walkways are wide and smooth; this makes it easier to maneuver as well as access your plants and tools. Several smaller beds are normally easier to maintain, and more attractive, than one large area or plot.
Add a small shed or a yard bin to store all of your tools in the area where you work, that way you are not dragging tools from a garage to the garden, giving you more time and energy for your plants.
Try to plant around a central water location as this will keep you from having to lug around heavy watering cans which stress the forearm, wrist, and fingers.
Try to avoid think wooden or metal handled tools, as these can be painful to grip. Try going for lightweight tools that have a thick, padded handle. These are much more comfortable and easier to maneuver. You may want to consider an ergonomic hoe, shovel, spade, or cultivators that are available with crossbars to make them easier to handle.
Remember to wear gloves as you work, as this will cushion your fingers while helping you to grip weeds and pull them out. If you need extra padding try wearing a thin knit glove under your gardening gloves. Use a kneeler when working on your knees to make lowering and rising gentler on your joints, it may be a good idea to wear knee pads as well.
A great investment for your garden would be a four wheeled garden cart, as this can do your heavy work for you! Tote bags of plant waste and tools without expending too much energy!
Before Gardening Each Day
Before you begin to garden, try to start by doing some gentle stretches and range of motion exercises. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist about designing a program for you.
Nest, you will want to put on your gloves and knee pads, and gather up the needed equipment. If you have a gardener’s smock, place your seed packets in those pockets to keep them close, and reduce the amount of trips needed before you start.
Plan frequent breaks to keep arthritis from setting in, try to plan to work different muscles and do different tasks frequently.
Remember, to keep gardening an enjoyable a relaxing activity, do not push yourself. Stop before your joints get sore or swollen, or if you become fatigued. As long as you follow these steps arthritis won’t stop you from enjoying your garden!