Vegetable Gardening Can be Fun
Vegetable gardening can be fun, and all the fresh produce is an added bonus. Here at Vision Aware we have offered a number of tips to enhance the blind gardening experience. But there are also some resources and relatively inexpensive products that can help. Most are available from Amazon.com or at your local home and garden store. Below are a sampling of these products:
List of Inexpensive Gardening Products
- Bricks, lumber and fences are great for marking borders of the garden, but they can be a toe-stub and tripping hazard. Another solution is to use bamboo plant stakes which push easily into the ground to mark the end of a row or to stake pepper and other small plants. Consider using two stakes to mark the sides of a raised bed, with some twine tied between them at calf or knee level. Just be sure to cap off each stake with a plastic water or soda bottle to prevent bending over injuries. After all, vegetable gardening should always be more fun than a sharp stick in the eye.
- A cane can be useful in marking out a straight row to plant radish or turnip seeds, but consider using two bamboo stakes with a length of twine tied between them just above ground level. Use your finger or small garden shovel to make a shallow trench just below the string, into which you can drop seeds. Not only will the twine mark a straight row, it will also act as a weeding guide when the plants are small so you don’t have to wonder, is this a plant or a weed?
- For larger seeded plants, such as bush beans, purchase a package of bamboo BBQ skewers. One of the skewers into the dirt just to one side of where you planted the seed. You will know which seeds properly germinated, and which need reseeding. When the seedlings are large enough to distinguish from weeds, remove the skewers and keep them for your next planting.
- Instead of relying on sprinklers or hose nozzles to water young seedlings, to apply fertilizers and organic pesticides more accurately, check out a pump garden sprayer. They usually hold either one or two gallons of water and dissolved materials, and after using the pump handle to add pressure, an adjustable spray wand allows you to mist or water with pinpoint precision.
- Many gardeners prefer to start all of their pepper and tomato plants from seeds and then transplant the seedlings. If you’d like to try, use a germination kit with rows of peat pots or peat pods to avoid knocking over the seedlings and to help you stay organized.
- Doubtless you’ve noticed the displays of ready-to-plant seedlings at your local home and garden shop, but if transportation is an issue, check out Burpee.com where they will send extremely healthy seedlings via post, timed for your growing season. Actually, you can pretty much buy all of your gardening supplies online from bags of garden soil to a 1,000 soft-sided garden container you can put on a large deck or in a rental backyard where you’re not allowed to dig.
- The NLS Talking Book Library has a number of excellent gardening books, but for more local advice, consult your county Extension Service. They are happy to answer gardening questions, usually via your choice of phone or email. They also likely offer some sort of local planting guide which will alert you when it’s time to plant what’s in your particular growing zone. Ask for it in PDF or other accessible formats.
- YouTube is an excellent yet undervalued resource for blind gardeners. Perform a search for “growing cucumbers,” for example, and you will find a treasure trove of helpful tips. Sure, you won’t catch the visuals, but the video creators nearly always describe what they are doing in enough detail that it’s easy to follow along.
Time to Get Growing
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to get growing! Are you a visually impaired gardner? If so, did you find these tips and resources helpful? Do you have other ideas for gardening that you would like to share? If you have not try gardening before has reading this encouraged you to do so? Share your comments with us in the comment section below.