A very important component of Kirk’s job is making gardening accessible to people that might have a limited range of motion. These folks may very well not be as strong as other gardeners. Something super important on that front is selecting the right tool for the job. And that is part of the assessment process. Kirk must determine how and where a patient needs assistance and if adapted equipment is needed. Fortunately these days, gardening equipment is made specifically to meet those needs. One of the best things one can do is to have a good, smart set up, soft soil, even raised beds or large containers. These things can make the process easier. But, if one has loss of function or weakness perhaps in an arm or hands then there are some wonderful tools available to use. The guys go through some of the options. Many are tools Eric has not seen before and they look a little different. But for instance you may have a trowel or something that can be used as a hoe, something that fits on your arm. A brace allows one to hold onto the handle, that way one can use that arm motion to make holes in the raised bed or container. Some very light weight tools are made out of plastic. One has an ergonomic handle, even with limited wrist flexion one is able to dig in the soil. It is light weight, thus makes it much easier. If one has loss of strength and not able to pick things up, light, plastic tools are durable but they can also be easier to handle. There are tools that have trigger grips that make it just a little easier to hold onto. If someone has arthritis it can be tough holding onto small handles which then makes it difficult to perhaps cut flowers, even light pruning can be problematic. One tool is a cutter, gatherer, it will allow one to make a cut and then hold onto what has been cut, then bring it back. So it doesn't just cut it off, then fall on the ground. Because one may have trouble then bending over and picking it up, this tool makes it much easier. Tools that have extensions are quite often helpful. With them when sitting in a chair or wheelchair one can extend their arm to a length that accommodates ones arms. They are pretty handy, some have interchangeable tools at the end. There are a lot of things that we can find around the home or in retail garden centers and shops that can be made to work.
By Dan Heims, president of Terra Nova Nurseries
Photographs courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries
Terra Nova Nurseries has been busy. Their Begonia Holiday series stands up to the rigors of plant survival and color compatibility for indoor use during the winter months.
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