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What ails you?

Posted by luna_llena_feliz 5 (My Page) on
Thu, Sep 6, 07 at 0:42

I have noticed people on this forum have a variety of physical and mental challenges. I have noticed a number of people with fibromyalgia, others with arthritis, some with back problems and others have a combination of these and then some! What I would like to know, is what ails you that makes it difficult to do conventional gardening and how do you work around it?

I have fibromyalgia that makes just about any movement painful. I can only do bits and pieces at a time, rest and plod on. I can't stand for very long but I am able to bend over to pull weeds or pluck deadheads. I can only do it for a few minutes until I have to rest. Needless to say, it makes gardening or any other kind of work around the house pretty time consuming.

To save myself time and effort, I want a garden that is low maintenance so I definitely want to mulch. And I want to grown plants that are easy to grow and are perennials like a lot of native prairie type flowers. I like to tinker and craft so I enjoy making things for the garden. If it doesn't move, chances are I will mosaic it! lol! Once I get my yard (I currently live in an apartment), I want to get into creating cement pieces too. I figure if I fill up enough of the yard with art, I don't need as many flowers!

What are some time/effort saving tips you have?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: What ails you?

I have fibromylagia as well, so mulching my beds to reduce weeding was such a relief!

I placed lots and lots of soaker hoses in those beds to reduce hand watering and use a timer so I don't have to go back out to turn it off--anything to save time and energy is a blessing!

Additionally, I use a tripod sprinkler, as well as impulse sprinkers for extra watering of most beds.

I finally located a sprayer on wheels at Home Depot for $20, with a battery powered head, so those large spraying jobs just became easier.

I still have pretty good range of motion, but I have a garden buddy on my list of next year's needs, cause getting down to the ground isn't as simple as it used to be.

I changed out most of my roses this year to more disease resistant varieties to reduce the need for continued spraying/maintenance.

I'm gravitating away from annuals (well, those that don't reseed themselves readily) and began delving more into perennials.

I mulched big chunks of the yard this year (converted it from lawn to beds) to reduce the amount of grass that needs mowed...I'm also switching our lawn over to a grass that is more trouble free--not mow free, but less mowing required, as well as less watering.

I'm looking forward to learning even more tips to make my gardening life easier. :)

RE: What ails you?

Hi! I have polymiositis - it's an inflammatory myopathy - my immune system attacks my muscles and they become weak and inflamed. I've been on autoimmune suppressants for about 9 1/2 years and 2 years ago I felt good enough to venture back out into the garden. My thigh muscles are the most affected by the disease - kneeling and crouching are out of the question - I do everything from a standing position so raised beds are a must. I made mine out of old tires (free!). All I did was cover an area of yard with wet newspaper and straw, I cut out 1 sidewall of each tire and lined them up in rows. I filled each one with a mix of compost, peat and sand and planted my veggies. I set myself acheivable goals - i.e. tonight I will fill 3 tires with soil mix. The foot or so of height off the ground made a big difference as far as accessibility goes, plus I avoided all that tilling and digging, I used alot of mulch. The tires collect heat and hold moisture, so I didn't have to water alot - an advantage because I find hauling the hose around pretty tiring. I look for garden tools with long handles - I've got a cultivator/weeder that I like to carry around - it's handy as a cane, too! A garden cart is pretty handy for moving bulky items but the one I bought rolls so freely that it's hard to use on any kind of a slope. Pacing yourself is very important, if I start to get tired and stumble I know it's time to quit - I also use a chair sometimes if I have alot of tomatoes to pick on low-lying branches. I don't mow - most of the grass has been replaced by garden and the grass I do have gets weedwhacked a couple of times a summer - one good thing about how dry it's been - the grass isn't growing! I love my garden! When I'm faced with a task that seems impossible I do something else and eventually I think of a way to get it done (or come up with another idea!).

I'm inspired and humbled by the posters on this forum.
Garden On!

RE: What ails you?

Old hernia repair, fibromyalgia, crushed discs, blah blah blah... those are the minor aches and pains. What really slows me down, though, is the scarred spinal cord. The damage is in my neck, so it affects pretty much everything, but worst of all is difficulty walking, pain in the lower right side, and fatigue.

I fall down alot, so my garden, with all the short metal posts, is probably the last place I need to be, but the one place I spend most of my outdoor time. I'm very cautious out there because of that, but I did have one bad fall which resulted in a small tear in my right medial cruciate ligament - ouch! Couldn't walk at all for a while after that.

I trade in the cane for a rake at the garden entrance sometimes, and use it to help me walk. The cane can be a good bug-squisher, too!

Mulch and/or intensive planting save time and weeding, definitely.

I also take a page from Fukuoka's book and work a lot less by scattering my cover crop seeds, then scattering pelletized fertilizer over them. The rain expends the pellets enough to help keep the seeds moist until they germinate. This works especially well with members of the mustard family. Bigger seeds also need lightly strewn straw on top. With careful selection and timing, most of the cover crops die and rot in place, making mulch right where I want it. The goat and chickens make short work of the rest of it in the spring.

A two acre yard is also a problem. I plan to get some temperate zone timber bamboo to take up a good chunk of the yard, so I won't have to mow there! In time, I'll also have abundant trellis material. Also, making new flower beds with perrenials and ornamental bushes takes up mowing area, and the wife likes it. Raking leaves into a wide ring of mulch around trees cuts down on the mowing as well. Maybe I can get it down to one acre someday... (I don't have a riding mower.)

I wish I had a magic carpet or a robotic lower half, but I don't. A little cart to scoot around the garden on would be nice, but my terrain is uneven and I'd have to keep getting up to drag it around. I'm thinking about cutting slot on either side of the bottom of a five gallon bucket to run a belt through so I can strap it to my behind and have an instant seat when I need it - hahaha...

RE: What ails you?

Good lord, seedsonshirt! I'm tired just reading about your big yard! lol! The bamboo idea sounds good though if they don't get out of hand. I hear they can be invasive if you aren't careful. But then, maybe that isn't such a bad idea as long as they stay out of the vegetable patch.

RE: What ails you?

The major problems i have are arthritis,periods of bursitis,major depression,and conjestive heart failure. Have spent this year replanting my flowers into pots that are easy to move and reach. I have a hard time doing anything without running out of breath and wheezing. I use a wheelbarrow to move things and for me it's easier to use a shovel instead of a hoe for weeding so my foot takes some of the work off of my upper body and i don't twist around as much. I need to get some specialized tools but keep putting it off. Actually my worst problem is chronic procrastination. LOL The weather is cooler now so my get-up-and-go has improved.

RE: What ails you?

Yep - cooler weather sure helps!

I went to the doctor Friday for the first time since my neck surgey. She now thinks I have a neurological disease of some sort, too. So I'm on some new meds used for neurological-based pain. They seem to be helping the pain already, but now I find it easier to "over-do" and get myself stranded sitting on a bucket... "Help, I'm sitting and I can't get up!" hahaha

My plan for containing the bamboo, if I ever get some, is to mow along the border. Supposedly this cuts the new shoots, preventing it from spreading. As far as containing it on the outside of my yard... I could use a bamboo forest...

oakleif, what's being done about your CHF?

RE: What ails you?

Bamboo sure is pretty but I hear it grows like weeds! Good luck if you have to combat it in your yard.

Care to share any of those meds, seedsonshirt?

oaklief, we have that chronic procrastination thing in common! lol! Although I can relate to the wheezing part. I have exercise induced asthma. Sometimes I listen trying to figure out where that whistling noise is coming from only to discover it is coming out of me! lol!

This past weekend, I stubbed two of my toes on a chair. Hurt like the dickens for a couple of days to the point where I thought it was broken. Seems fine now. I was thinking when it happened how much I don't need any extra pain!

Now that cooler temperatures are upon us ... at least some of us anyway (I'm in zone 5), what do you folks do during the colder months?

RE: What ails you?

"Care to share any of those meds, seedsonshirt?"

I don't think the DEA would be too keen on that! Just Kidding... I'm taking Neurontin, Baclofen, and Vicadin.

"Now that cooler temperatures are upon us ... at least some of us anyway (I'm in zone 5), what do you folks do during the colder months?"

I'm seeking spiced cider! I love that smell when the air cools off!

RE: What ails you?

seeds, Not much to do abt CHF. low salt diet to keep down water retention. Wont take fluid pills.I was on some pill for awhile for CHF,but it did'nt seem to help so Dr.took me off it.I try to stay active. Had a Neurologest tell me several years ago after many tests, that i had Alzheimers, later it turned out i had had a stroke and kept improving so have kinda lost confidence in the medical system. Do beleive i have CHF as i have all the symptions. My doctor gave me three years but i think i'm going to try to prove her wrong.

My DD is taking all the meds you are plus,would you beleive, methadone. She hurt her back at work and went to a specialist Who did a procedure called an IDET on her and a wire bent and really messed up the nerves in part of her spinal cord. She's on disability now and has almost constant pain.

Know abt the sitting and can't get up thing,also kneeling and my knees say "I dare you to try and get up." LOL

luna, i hear you abt wondering where that wheezing is coming from.

In the winter i read,tend to houseplants, crochet,spend a lot of time on line. Come the middle of January I get cabin fever big time and will look for something green outside,pace, fuss,
look at all flower and veggie catalogs i can get my hands on. I've a lot of spring flowers planted and go check to see if any have come up. I settle down when it snows for a day or two till the snow melts then go nuts again.LOL till my flowers start blooming.

RE: What ails you?

I don't want to sound gloomy, but when I took my dog to the vet, he said she had CHF. I asked him if there was anything he could do. He said if she was human, there was a procedure where they cut little holes in the heart, I guess to let off pressure? Have you heard of anything like this?

RE: What ails you?

I remembered when I had a yard how much I looked forward to those blooming bulbs! Like you, I'd be out there checking the little shoots to see how they are coming along.

I am not very fond of winter here in Wisconsin. The older I get, the more the cold and snow bother me. I pretty much stay housebound when I'm not working. Well I pretty much do that all year round too! lol! Right now I am working on a novel entitled The Flower Lady about a woman who likes to garden. I will probably spend more time working on that during the frigid winter months.

RE: What ails you?

seeds,have'nt heard of the procedure. i'll look it up.
Sorry about your dog and hope he has a gentle end.

RE: What ails you?

I got a good chuckle from the earlier posts. A good sense of humour helps doesn't it? I have lumbar spinal stenosis and am awaiting on surgery to correct the cause of pain and left sided weakness. I'm 55 years old and not ready to give outdoors up. I really relate to the 'good day' overdoing of things and hoping someone will come get me out of the yard. I've called out for my children to help me get back into the house more than once and I have crawled inside on my hands and knees too. Boy, did my kids give me heck for that! I have to work on the ground, on my knees. I'm not supposed to bend over or twist very much. I've been getting rid of labour intensive plants and starting to simplify with extra heavy mulch for now the empty spots. Some of the large garden space will become grass again and I have to re-think growing in pots or building a platform, different plants...a thinking/planning winter project now that I have made a clean slate in the yard. I'm going to be outside what ever happens and I can't be doing nothing! With help maybe I can garden smarter? Susan

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