Gardening is for everyone and there is no such thing as a brown thumb – these are two of my core beliefs. Mankind has been growing food for thousands of years. It’s built in to us as a species. But a person with a disability may have some difficulty with gardening. But nothing is impossible, and this wheelchair friendly gardening system proves it.
Growing your own vegetables, herbs, and fruits is one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have. It’s not easy, but it is worth it. Countless numbers of people enjoy gardening, and it has numerous benefits as well. According to WebMD, ‘Activities such as gardening, do-it-yourself projects and housework may be as good as formal exercise when it comes to reducing the risk for heart attack and stroke.’
Also, a Dutch study asked two groups of people to complete a stressful task and concluded that gardening for 30 minutes after said task resulted in lower cortisol levels. Cortisol is the hormone associated with stress. Had a rough day? Get in your garden and let the stress melt away.
Studies suggest that inhaling M. vaccae, a healthy bacteria that lives in soil, can increase levels of serotonin and reduce anxiety. According to Discover Magazine, ‘you get a dose [of M. vaccae] just by taking a walk in the wild or rooting around in the garden’ and this ‘could help elicit a jolly state of mind.’
Wheelchair friendly gardening is here
All of these benefits could only be enjoyed by those who were able to move around freely. Now, that has changed thanks to Elevated Gardens.
Terry Garrett is the mastermind behind the company that designs a tabletop garden specifically for people in wheelchairs. The idea for the elevated garden was born after his brother was diagnosed with Stage IV chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
“He loved gardening but could no longer handle the physical demands of traditional gardening,” says the veteran. “I designed and built my first elevated garden… and by the end of the year, my brother was taking care of 40 units and growing all his produce for the winter.”
“I saw how it benefited him with an improvement in his quality of life, and an increased sense of self worth and accomplishment,” said Garret.
Standing at just 30 inches tall, the gardens have been used in nursing homes and assisted living facilities because they limit the amount of bending and physical activity that is typically required by traditional gardening. All of the corners and sides have been smoothed as well, so there’s no need to worry about accidental bumps and injuries.