The Best Gardening Method for Baby Boomers?

gardeners300.jpgLet’s face it; we’re aging. Heavy work and tasks requiring a lot of bending or kneeling are becoming more difficult. Tilling, shovel work, hoeing, and all the bending required throughout the gardening season is heck on the body. Giving up isn’t in the forecast, so what method can we choose that will allow us to keep gardening into our 90s?

I’ll tell you right now, I don’t have the answer, just some ideas. I’m a Boomer whose age is telling on me. My new motto are “Just Say No To Tilling” and “Don’t Lower Yourself to Stoop Labor”. These are activities required for a conventional row garden and are no longer happening for me. I want no till, no weed, no bend gardening. Most of my food needs to grow in permaculture zone one. In other words, close to the kitchen. That makes a lot of sense in terms of it being close to the water source for easy maintenance and not too far to carry all that wonderful produce in to prepare it. Which means the old garden spot across the drive will be put to another use.

Since I also want to eliminate most lawn care, gardening in all the spots adjacent to the house means I won’t have to mow there. If I do it right, I also won’t have to run the weed eater.  Okay, I have the logistics figured out to save time and steps. Now comes the question that’s more difficult to answer…HOW? There are four gardening methods that strike my fancy.

Square Foot

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ql5w6S7Meo&list=PL67F14A756DF550A9

Keyhole

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykCXfjzfaco

Hugelkultur

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Zn3-DNWK80

Straw Bale

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gk9T3biw-nA

I hope to make a test bed for each of these techniques in the spring and compare results. Here’s the info I’m looking for.

  • ease of initial preparation
  • maintenance involved
  • how easy that maintenance is to perform
  • yield

What else is important to know?

What is your experience with any of these methods?

Reading List

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Square Foot Gardening

Straw Bale Gardening

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Comments

The Best Gardening Method for Baby Boomers? — 4 Comments

  1. I’m new to your blog. Cool name.
    I personally use a square-foot bed, but it still requires some bending or squatting to reach the goodies. I volunteer at a farm on the weekend where the farmers are over 60. They grow everything in pots and use “grasshoppers” to tend to plants, instead of bending down or stooping. It works for them. If you are interested in seeing what we do, I have a whole series of posts called “Farm School” under my header. Feel free to browse!

    • Thanks for your comment and sending me to your blog. They grow such a variety in pots and such beautiful pictures of everything they grow. I didn’t see the “grasshoppers” you refer to. What are they?

  2. Great post. I’m finding my center of gravity is constantly changing as I age. Declines in vision and hearing also affect my sense of balance. So limiting or eliminating ladder time is important. If you intend to slip some fruit trees into your Permaculture Zone 1, go for dwarf or semi-dwarf rootstocks and then keep the leaders pruned so you won’t have to climb a ladder to thin or harvest your fruit. You might also try vertical growing. (Lots of stuff about this on the internet.) Getting the strawberries off the ground and at eye level is pure genius.

    • Thanks for the tips on fruit trees. I do intend on adding some fruit and nut trees in Zone 1. Ladders are somewhat challenging now and I don’t expect that will get any better. I did have a couple of apple trees that were coming along nicely until the rabbits girdled them one winter. Live and learn. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

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