There is a lack of time in working life, but physical fitness is there. At retirement age it is the other way around – and that should also be reflected in the garden.
What a passionate hobby gardener is, could envy a pensioner a lot. He doesn’t have to sacrifice precious weekends and evenings to mow the lawn. Has all the time in the world to pick out every tiny weed in the vegetable patch. And when he’s done everything, there is still so much excess that he can just sit on the chair and admire his work.
What you don’t see, however, is that even healthy pensioners often no longer have the physical capacity to carry on as usual. That is why it is important, preferably before the last working day is celebrated, to convert your garden according to age, also because most of this will benefit younger gardeners. We show what needs to be done.
- Build raised beds
Bending down low and / or working on your knees for a long time is exhausting or even impossible for seniors. There are a number of tall plants that can stay on the ground even in retirement – think of maize or types of beans – but there should be plenty of raised bed space for everything between strawberries, radishes and onions.
Then construction begins. Whether you go about it according to your own taste or rely on kits is a matter of taste. It is only important that the raised bed is correctly filled in layers. (From underneath):
- twigs and similar green cuttings
- turf (bottom side up)
- Leaves and coarse compost
- Sieved compost or fine potting soil
Everything that works at ground level can be grown in this bedding layered salad, but it is much easier on the back. And: In the spring, loosening can also be carried out conveniently using a hand hoe.
- Get a tiller
Since, as already mentioned, some things continue to thrive in beds that are level with the ground, you have to take money in hand. Because all manual soil loosening techniques between digging and tearing are unnecessarily strenuous. It’s easier to have.
The key to this is a tiller. Here the market is divided into two variants: electric and combustion engine-powered. Not just a matter of taste, but rather a question of the bed area and the type of soil. Light soils up to approx. 50 square meters can be worked with an inexpensive electric hoe or compact petrol engines such as the FG 110 from Honda. But the larger the bed and the heavier the soil, the more weight and power is required. It’s only available with larger gasoline engines.
- Simplify irrigation
Even for younger gardeners, lugging watering cans is no fun. However, in old age it becomes really dangerous. And you can save yourself the need to wind up miserably long garden hoses.
That takes a plumber. He lets you branch off from his outside faucet to the neuralgic spots in the garden. This water pipe is provided with taps. So you can water everything very comfortably with a minimally short hose under 10m.
Now such narrow paths may still work. In old age, however, you should treat yourself to a wider path into your garden.
- Widen paths
The 40×40 concrete slabs that are thrown into the bed every spring after the soil is loosened may still be sufficient. However, if the sense of balance no longer works as well, it becomes a wobbly, crooked stumbling block. To avoid that you should
- … widen the garden paths. 80cm are good to pass for seniors. If it is to be wheelchair accessible, 120cm are necessary.
- … make it a “train”. So without any spaces in between, but pressed together
- … don’t just lay them on the ground, but on a concrete foundation – that also looks a lot cleaner.
If you have to buy paving slabs anyway, you should choose those with the roughest possible surface for high grip in rainy weather.
- Perennials and ground cover
As beautiful as ornamental beds, which are planted every year and everything in between neatly raked, may be – they make a lot of work. Not even because you have to replant every spring – seniors could do that too. No, it’s the irrigation effort and the need to wage constant warfare against weeds. No matter how much time you have as a pensioner, you don’t want to waste it – and if you’re honest, you don’t want that during your professional life either.
There are ways in which you can say goodbye to this practice without any loss of appearance. It starts with planting hardy perennials in the beds. When they bloom, they are just as beautiful as any aster – only because of their deep roots they need much less water. Because they are perennial, you actually don’t have to worry about anything anymore. And where the space between them used to be kept weed-free, evergreen ground cover is now being planted. They are so stubborn that no weeds grow on them – and the bed is quiet.
- Transport helpers
Now the normal wheelbarrow may still be sufficient. However, as muscle strength decreases, their use becomes more and more strenuous. The cheapest solution is to buy two things: First, a two-wheeled wheelbarrow. You just have to guide them and not pay attention to the side tilting. And secondly, a wagon suitable for the garden, with which you can pull heavy things (keyword: potting soil) to the place of work. If you want to dig a little deeper into your pocket, you can of course also purchase the de-luxe option in the form of a self-propelled, motor-driven wheelbarrow.
You don’t have to give up your gardening hobby just because you’re getting old. But in future you should do without the things that are simply more difficult for you. If you work through the tips mentioned beforehand, you will get used to it with ease – and you will already reap the odd gardening-free Saturday.