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4 Tips for Gardening With a Bad Back

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Gardening with a bad back can be a real pain! Here’s how to save your back with proper garden planning…

It’s no secret that gardening is hard work! But if you have a bad back, it is even harder. Gardening can often involve a lot of bending, stooping, crouching, digging, and heavy lifting – all of which can be extremely painful if you’re dealing with back problems.

But don’t worry – you don’t have to give up your beloved garden entirely just because you have a bad back! There are lots of gardening methods that can be much easier on the back, from waist-high planter boxes, to gardening in containers, or even straw or hay bale gardening.

If you still want to use traditional gardening methods without all the digging, there are also some unique ways to do this as well – including the simple “solarizing” method described in this video by Marjorie Wildcraft at the Grow Network.

Here are 4 steps to preparing and planting a new garden bed while keeping your back safe and pain-free (and they also work great for anyone else looking for a no-till method of gardening):

1.) Summer: Bake the Soil to Kill Grass and Weeds

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By laying a tarp or 2 mil black plastic on the would-be garden bed, weighing it down with rocks, and letting the plot bake for a few months in the summer sun, you can effectively kill grass, weed seeds, and even unwelcome soil diseases…

If you live in a hot area and get a lot of sunny days, you’ll usually need to wait a few summer months before removing the black plastic.

In places where the summers are mild, wait even longer.

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2.) Autumn, Part 1: Reintroduce the Good Microbes

For solarizing to be really effective, your soil needs to reach about 150°F (66°C).

That’s hot enough to also kill some of the good microbes in the soil. In late autumn, top dress the soil with about 4 to 6 inches (10 cm to 15 cm) of good organic matter—compost, composted manure, or green manures.

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3.) Autumn, Part 2: Use a Garden Fork in Rocky Soil

A note here for those of you with rocky soil: Once you remove the plastic covering, apply a garden fork to soil to remove the bigger rocks.

If you must do this yourself, be sure to use a garden fork with a long, lightweight handle. Try to keep your back straight by bending at the knees instead of the waist.

Alternately, ask a relative or friend to do it for you, or hire someone to help with this task.

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4.) Spring: Strategic Planning and Garden Planting

When it’s time to plant in Spring, some folks with a bad back like to use a simple, homemade seed-sowing tool (see instructions here).

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When deciding what and how to plant, consider reducing the need to weed by using companion planting methods, mulch, a block-style layout—or a combination of the three.

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Read more at TheGrowNetwork.com

 

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