This story was first published in It’s 2015.
Straw husbands. Pallets. High beds. When it comes to creating alternative gardens – grown above ground – there are many options.
Some save money, while others allow gardeners to handle a variety of activities or improve soil health.
In any case, these days more people are gardening than ever before, and professional gardeners go a long way in providing access to those who do not want or do not have a traditional underground garden.
Ellen Gibson, University of Maine Extension University and Alpha One, a non-profit collaboration with Maine Agribution, a gardener and agronomist. The organization works to help farmers, farm workers, fishermen and others with chronic health problems or disabilities.
For her, “accessibility” means growing food and flowers, designing gardens as a place for everyone. It may mean creating spaces for those who are unable to walk, who are blind, or who are intellectually impaired.
For the visually impaired, there may be wide sidewalks, raised beds, or flowers and plants with a variety of textures and fragrances. Behaviors such as roundabouts or confined spaces can help people with memory loss or dementia.
“I think it’s similar to the concept of universal design in architecture. There is age and skill in garden design for everyone,” Gibson said.
Lilani Carlson, project coordinator with Mainegrag, added that alternative gardens are also good for people with potential, and can go a long way in using a variety of growing areas.
“Alternative garden designs [are] In fact, it is a good concept to consider for all ages, lifestyles and gardens, e.g. [in] Schools, suburbs or city settings, apartment residences or retirement buildings. ”
Types and Objectives
Donna Coffin, a professor at Maine Cooperative Extension University in Phenobsco County, says alternative gardens are often in vogue. A few years ago, there was a huge effort to create lawns, lawns, and lawns that were gradually reduced to compost.
“Every year there are new techniques,” says Coffin. “The new thing this year is my straw garden.
Straw bale garden; Straw bale gardeners use balsam on their sides, nitrogen-based fertilizer rotting a few inches of straw, and then planting seeds in the upper layer of advanced straw. As the garden grows, the straw will continue to rot and support the plants. At the end of the season, my whole husband can go straight to the compost pile. The straw is long, but it is a good option for those who want a high bed but for those who do not need money or time to make a high bed.
High beds; The coffin has changed trends in alternative gardens, but one permanent one bed has been elevated, and accessibility has been popular for decades. High beds are usually made of wooden planks that are designed to create a deep box for gardeners and prevent gardeners from bending over. The beds also provide controlled growth, because soil can be added or changed if necessary.
“Sometimes the raised beds double the height of the beds,” says Gibson. In fact, I heard about some nursing homes with 3 or 4 feet high beds.
Containers garden; According to Carlson, container vegetables provide an alternative to raised beds and are great for growing food, leaves, or flowers. Container gardens are mobile, so they provide some flexibility to gardeners who can move if the weather changes, he said. Containers include window boxes. Hanging baskets; Recycled containers, such as laundry basins or horse basins; And planted directly in soil bags.
Small containers can be placed high on the table for those who want to stand and install or in a wheelchair. But one thing to note is that gardener Kate Garland says containers – especially shallow ones, such as window boxes or soil bags – dry quickly and need watering every day.
Emotional gardens; Sensitive gardens are a good option for children or the blind, but Gibson is “the joy of all.” In sensory parks, plants are placed near roads and often have contrasting colors, textures, and smells. Gardeners can also include sculptures or other objects that can help blind people move around, says Gibson.
Want to create an alternative garden? Here are some tips and tricks
Gibson advises those interested in creating an alternative garden to think about how much time they will have to manage the space and how large or complex the garden will be. She also recommends a list of shelters. For example, is mobility a challenge? If so, gardeners need to remember which roads are built, how wide they are, and if there is a slope to the property.
For wheelchair users, Gibson recommends that you build beds on your feet and make sure the beds are no more than 4 feet by 2 feet if they reach one side or are accessible on both sides.
Also, consider purchasing ergonomic equipment to ease the pressure on the wrists or telescopic devices that the gardener can stand and work on.
Want to learn more?
Anyone interested in creating a more accessible garden can find more resources and more information on the Maine Agribution website, umaine.edu/agrability. The Maine University Cooperative Extension website also has resources and videos on how to build high beds. For more information on straw bale garden, visit strawbalegardens.com.