As an avid gardener, your dad is upset that he now needs a wheelchair. Now that he’s in a wheelchair going into his yard is not as easy. He’ll need paths to his garden to look at the plants. Getting to the ground to weed, plant seeds and seedlings, or harvest produce is impossible.
He doesn’t have to give up gardening. Instead of forcing him to give up a favorite hobby, your dad can switch to container gardening. To do that, you want to design a garden that meets his needs.
Focus on Height
A standard wheelchair’s seat is about 18 to 20 inches. Your dad’s arm height will be around 30 inches. His eyes are typically going to be in the 40 to 50-inch range. It would be best if you started with those measurements to understand how high to make his containers.
Design the Layout
Once you know the right height, make sure the containers are at the right height. Set up planter pots on a table that allows your dad to pull under the table and easily reach the containers. If you know a handyman, you could build raised bed table gardens that are wheelchair accessible.
You want to make sure the ground from his wheelchair ramp or exit door is level so that he doesn’t get stuck. This may require you to put in a sidewalk, wheelchair path, or patio space that’s even and provides plenty of room to move around.
A patio is often the best set-up as you can have various tables and large planters to give him different soil depths to work with. That allows him to grow a wider variety of plants.
Choose the Right Plants
If your dad is going to garden in a tabletop garden, he doesn’t want a plant with deep roots. Grape or cherry tomatoes, herbs, spinach, lettuce, kale, bush beans, and Swiss chard are good choices. Keep the soil watered well and add fertilizer as needed to keep the thinner layer of soil from losing nutrients.
Deeper patio planters like a half whiskey barrel can handle plants with deeper roots. He’ll find them useful for carrots, onions, and squash.
Is anyone helping your dad manage his time outside? If he’s in the sun for too long, he can overheat and become dehydrated. Sunburn is another problem with spending too much time outdoors. If he gets a sunburn, it hurts and can lead to skin cancer.
Hire home care aides to remind your dad to apply sunscreen. They can get him a glass of water and bring him inside if he’s been outside too long. Call a home care agency to make arrangements for the services he needs.