RA & Gardening: Is Your Green Thumb Twitching?

Vanessa Collins Health Guide

    The crazy roller-coaster weather has finally settled down to something resembling Spring in Missouri. The sun is shining, the wind is more gentle, and my green thumb is twitching!


    In my previous life, before RA, I had a huge vegetable garden, and quite a few flowers planted here and there around the house. I also had hanging planters and flower pots full of geraniums, petunias, impatiens and the like. But that was in my previous life. No looking back. Today is a new day.


    Being diagnosed with RA has not stopped my twitching green thumb. Actually, I think all of my fingers and toes start twitching when the sun warms the earth and it is planting time.

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    Having RA has not stopped me from enjoying my flowers and my fresh vegetables. I no longer have a huge garden, but I do have two raised beds. There is enough room to plant tomatoes (a must!) and a few other things. I usually plant yellow squash and onions. If my husband is home and can till up some of the “old garden”, I might have him plant a few hills of cantaloupe.


    There are numerous tools available now to help those of us with RA who still enjoy gardening. I have a small shovel and a small hoe. I can't stand up and use these, but I can sit in my plastic, molded lawn chair and do a small bit of hoeing and digging. The dirt in my raised beds is not packed. It is light and quite good for growing things.


    There are also hand tools available with a round tubing of sorts that fits over your wrist. This helps tremendously when planting flowers or vegetable plants.


    If your raised beds are high enough, you can sit in your chair and plant your seeds or plants. A height of 36 inches is good for me. Unfortunately, my husband built my raised beds before I became as physically disabled as I am now. They are only 12 inches tall at the moment, but next year we will have them raised to 36 inches so that I can continue to have my little garden.


    I also have light, plastic rectangular planters on my porch. I love to sit on my front porch in the morning, look at my flowers, and watch the morning light dance on the trees. Coffee just tastes better on my porch, and it helps me ease into my day.


    My porch planters are so light, that I can lift them up onto a table and plant my flowers sitting in my chair. I purchased a 50 foot pocket hose that weighs very little, and is easy for me to use. I have a watering wand on the end of the hose with a shut-off valve, so that makes it even handier.


    I love to plant annual flowers, such as pansies and impatiens, but I have also planted a few perennial flowers the last few years. These flowers come up every year, which is a blessing. I found a few that I really love. This allows me to plant a few annuals in my little flower pots, and also enjoy the perennials that come up every year on the side of our house.


    Below is a picture of one of my favorite perennials.









    As far as I am concerned, there is nothing better than a home grown tomato. I am hoping my four little plants do well. Sometime in July we should be eating fresh tomatoes in salads, by themselves, and on bread. I happen to love tomato sandwiches with just a touch of mayo!


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    I also love yellow squash, and I am also hoping my squash does well this year. It tastes so much better when it is fresh. It is also expensive at the grocery store!


    If you would like to have a few tomato plants or other vegetables, and you do not have a raised bed, you might consider container gardening. You can purchase “Patio Tomatoes” and they do very well in containers that you can place on your porch. Just make sure they get a lot of sun. Tomato plants love sunshine and water!


    You could also purchase a 3-foot tall planter and sit it beside your door. You could fill it with whatever flowers you would like. A favorite of mine is wave petunias. They come in beautiful, vibrant colors, and they are easy to grow.


    Since you can buy tall planters now, you don't have to bend over and struggle to plant. These planters also make watering a breeze.


    Below are some more pictures of my little flowers. They haven't been planted very long. I hope to watch them grow and get stronger every day. Flowers make me smile, as does my little vegetable garden. I am so happy there are ways to garden other than the traditional till the land method. Do you have any gardening tips you would like to share?








Published On: May 29, 2013