Anyone know about the best gardening strategies if you have severe back pain/strength issues?

mississippilady asks: Anyone know about the best gardening strategies if you have severe back pain/strength issues?
I love to garden but have not been able to lift even 5 lb. garden soil bags since last season, or enjoy gardening as just pulling up soil with the shovel can put me in pain for days, due to a congenital back defect which is deteriorating. I have a very limited budget. Any suggestions? Thanks!

The answer voted best is:

Answer by vhines200
try bonsai

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  1. If you can get someone to build large, raised planters for you, you won’t have to bend over to garden. They don’t have to be constructed of anything fancy.

  2. One faction of organic gardening emphasizes the living soil. Worms aerate and distribute nutrients, all sorts of micro organisms doing their things, etc. Tilling actually kills a lot of beneficial buggies and destroys the soil structure they built up. That structure helps to retain nutrients – tilling helps them leech out, and also brings dormant weed seeds to the surface.
    These people also advocate cutting plants at the surface instead of pulling. The decomposed root channels become pathways for air, water and nutrients.

    Sounds like you already have an established garden, so this may be a case of less work is better. Just add compost a couple times a year…

    I bring around a plastic step stool to sit on, which makes it easier on my knees and back.

  3. a garden cart. even a little red wagon. use this to transport but be mindful not to overload it. also knee pads and do little bits at a time. cocentrate on hardy plants for you area. when you are gardening be mindful of the little joys around you. ask for help on moving the big stuff.

  4. Try growing perennials, and or bulbs like iris and lily with least maintenance. If you have to work with te soil, you can sit down and do it without straining your back.

  5. I sympathize. I too suffer from chronic back pain from an L4 L5 bulging disc that occurred while “doing yard work”. Best answer I can give is, find some cheap help. Enlist friends, neighbors, children, spouse, church members or find a wino that will work for a bottle of the cheap stuff. Good luck but take it easy. You’ve only got one back!

  6. container gardening can be very rewarding. Have a friend help construct a long potting bench with cement blocks and recycled plastic lumber. Lettuces and herbs normally need only 1.5 liter pots to reach full maturity. Tomatoes, cukes, and other salsd fruits need 5 gallons of soil per one or two plants. good luck and enjoy!!! Grow organic foods to enjoy in your meals and maybe your back pain will vanish!

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