11 Ways to Keep Gardening With Back Pain

Gardening is one of the joys of life for many of us, but back pain can throw a wrench into the best-laid planting plans.

That doesn’t mean you need to cross gardening off your list. With a few adaptations and a dash of creativity, you can still exercise that green thumb by following these 11 strategies for minimizing injury.

 1. Gardening with Back Pain
Stretching before you begin garden can help prepare your body for
the time in the garden.

2. Safe Moves for Your Back
Here are several tips on gardening in a way that is relatively gentle on your back:

3.   Warm up first
Gardening can be a real workout, so warming up your muscles first is a good idea. Try a brisk five-minute walk and some stretching exercises. One relatively gentle stretch is the back flexion exercise, in which you lie down on your back, then pull both knees to your chest while bringing your head forward. If you have back pain, then work with your physician or another healthcare provider to find the right stretches for you.
See Stretching for Back Pain Relief and Techniques for Effective Exercise Walking

4.   Lift carefully
It's easy to lift heavy pots, bushes, and full watering cans incorrectly and damage your back.
To lift correctly, begin by squatting, not bending at your waist. Use both hands to hold the object, keeping it close to your body, and slowly straighten your legs as you lift.

To minimize lifting, use a wagon, a dolly, or other aid to carry heavy items from place to place. Fill large watering cans just halfway, and consider alternative watering options, such as soaker hoses or automated irrigation systems.

Depending on your back problem, some jobs that involve heavy lifting and twisting may be best left to others.

5.   Take breaks
It’s easy to lose track of time when you love being out in the yard. Take a water bottle with you as a reminder to take frequent breaks. If you’ve been in one position for a while, do some stretches during these breaks. Also, avoid doing the same kind of job, such as pruning, for a long period. Switch to something else for a while.
See Ten Tips for Improving Posture and Ergonomics

6.   Get support from kneelers and chairs
Getting down on the ground—and back up—can be painful or even impossible, depending on your level of pain and flexibility. Heavy-duty kneelers, especially those with raised, padded handles to help you get up and down, allow you to use your arm strength to aid in the process. Kneelers usually include a well-cushioned base to reduce stress and impact on your knees and back. Many kneelers also convert to a low chair.
Add cushioning to knee pads
Wearable or moveable knee pads are a good option if you feel more comfortable kneeling at ground level. Multiple types of foam are often used to maximize cushioning.
See Good Posture Helps Reduce Back Pain

7.   Use garden scooters to avoid twisting
Stretching and twisting put added stress on the joints and discs in your spine. One way to minimize twisting is to use a wheeled scooter. Scooters range in size from small scooters made to fit in tight garden spaces to larger scooters with baskets.
See Treatment Options for Facet Joint Pain and All About Spinal Disc Problems

8.  Try out specialized tools
Long-handled tools can eliminate much of the bending required by planting and weeding. Long-handled trowels and cultivators can be helpful if bending forward causes or worsens your back pain.
Garden while standing
Wall gardening, also called vertical gardening, is a trend of planting up, not across the ground. If bending is painful for you, working more at your eye level may be something to consider.
In one type of wall gardening, plants and soil are tucked into pockets made of felt or similar material, all mounted on a structure attached to a wall. The plants gradually grow together, forming a wall of flowers or greenery.

Other wall gardening styles use a metal or wooden structure along a wall, with places for attaching varying sizes of planters. The look can range from artsy to elegant.

 9.   Bring the plants to you
Raised-bed gardening using beds 2 to 3 feet tall offers plenty of options. Some of the sturdier raised beds include an edge where the gardener can sit while planting or harvesting vegetables or herbs. Raised beds are often wheelchair accessible as well. Some raised beds are combined with a trellis ideal for climbing vegetables, such as peas.
To reap similar benefits and avoid bending, focus on hanging plants from a wall, fence post, tree branch, or easily accessible window box. Planters designed to attach to a balcony can also be a good option for flowers or a small herb garden.

 10.  Keep plants contained
Concentrating on growing plants in containers can make gardening much easier. In addition to flowers, larger containers can be well-suited to growing lettuce and other vegetables. Be sure to use extra-deep containers for tomatoes. Wheeled structures called plant caddies can be used under heavier pots to avoid pushing and pulling.
See Additional Lifting Techniques to Avoid Back Injury

 11.  Think outside the box
You may discover you need to scale back your garden. Think about what’s most important and what you can let go—or assign to others.
If you can’t get by without colorful annuals, for instance, use them for a pop of color in a small area, and emphasize low-maintenance plants, including ground covers, elsewhere.

Consider having someone else handle the weeding. It’s a repetitive motion that causes more stress on the body than you might expect. If you can’t avoid weeding completely, mulch generously to discourage weeds. The mulch will also keep in moisture so you won’t need to spend as much time watering.
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Todd and his love for gardening and getting into garden tools. I am always looking for some tool to make the job easier and less stressful in your gardening experience. I have been an avid gardener all of my life. For the gardening enthusiast, having quality tools and gardening accessories makes the outdoor experience all that more rewarding.  Unique garden tools brought to you by Hand tools, garden supplies, pots and planters, power tools and composting supplies.

Christmas Cactus or Thanksgiving Cactus Which One Is It?

   One way you can tell is to look at the leaves.  The leaves of the Thanksgiving Cactus have sharp points on them whereas the Christmas Cactus has more rounded edges.  Simple as that, there are few tricks to taking care of your cacti.
    Despite its name, the Christmas cactus is not a desert plant, but rather has its origins in the tropical rainforests of South America. If you live in a dry climate, make sure a source of humidity like a shallow tray of water is kept nearby. The plant will not tolerate dry soil and requires regular watering.                                       
   Thanksgiving Cactus Information
Schlumbergera truncata is the Thanksgiving cactus. It is called a leaf cactus but is not a true cactus. Rather it is an epiphyte, those plants which live on other plants. The leaves are broad and flat with slight serrations on the edges in the Thanksgiving vs. Christmas cactus, which has smoother edges. The flowers that appear in fall are similar to fuchsia blooms and come in hues of yellow, white, pink and red.
     Caring for Christmas Cactus
Christmas cactus thrives in bright, but indirect sunlight. Keep it near a window when indoors or shaded by trees if kept outdoors in warmer months.
    In the wild, jungle cacti grow on rocks and in trees. They get their nutrients from the air or from dead leaves and other tree remains. What you want to do then is to plant your cacti in a soil mix that reproduces this natural growing condition.

    Ingredients to look for in this potting mixture include things such as orchid bark, perlite, potting soil, peat, coir, pumice. Whatever you do, the key is to get a mixture that allows good drainage.

    A well-drained soil mix is crucial for keeping the roots from rotting. Additionally, the proper soil mix makes watering really simple. For the most part, you should water your jungle cacti about once a week. But this is just a general guideline. You also should check your plant periodically to determine if you need to adjust your watering.

    The easiest way to do this is to stick your finger in the soil. If the soil is dry, then water. If it's not, then don't water it.

    Jungle cacti survive in a wide range of light conditions. But full morning sun and then shade for the afternoon is the ideal conditions this plant. Christmas cacti are just one of the more than 2,000 species in this fascinating plant family.

    If you are beginning with this fun and interesting plant and want to make sure you start on the right foot, you will want to make sure you avoid the top three most common mistakes novice cacti growers make.
1. Planting Your Cactus In Regular Potting Mix
2. Planting or Keeping Your Cactus In Full Sun
3. Over-Watering
   Ensuring a Christmas Bloom
In fall, night temperatures around 50-55 degrees will trigger Christmas cactus to form flower buds. A carefully monitored balance of darkness and sunlight will give you beautiful blooms in time for the holidays. Six to eight weeks before Christmas, place the plant in a completely dark space where the temperature is 60 degrees (such as a closet or garage) for 12 hours each night. Be sure to bring the plant out to a sunny spot for the other 12 hours each day. Water only when the top inch or so of the soil feels dry, and you should get flowers for the holiday.A few weeks after the flowers have faded, prune stems back to encourage new growth.

Potting Benches Are A Gardener's Best Friend

It is hard to see? but I did add a kitchen sink just to the right on the bench
This is the back side of my potting station. Where tools are kept out of the weather

Do you have lots of plants to be potted?
I spend quite a lot of time every year planting different pots of flowers, herbs, and potted vegetables. With potting bench, potting plants will not be a messy experience and back-breaking work anymore. I was tired of bending over on the ground or using the picnic table for planting in pots. I haven't even looked at any plans but I came up with a solution. My potting station; I called it. A potting bench will give you extra room to pot plants and flowers as well as keep your gardening equipment.
Even if you love gardening, repotting plants or dividing flats can feel like a real chore if you have to scavenge for supplies in the dark corners of the garage. Park them on a dedicated workstation, however, and you'll never waste time hunting them down again. If you plan to leave it outdoors, make sure you build it from cedar or exterior-grade lumber. An indoor bench should get a weather-resistant finish, at the very least, to prevent water, soil, and fertilizer from damaging the surface. And for those of you who don't want to DIY this project, we have good news: There are potting benches on the market that suit all budgets. Just make sure the one you buy has a work surface at a comfortable height for you. Once you start using it, you'll wonder how you ever did without this.
And the bench also has overhead storage. That is a great feature because when you are done you have extra places to store your pots and other planting nick-knacks. The sky is the limit when coming up with a design. You can make them fancy or what I like is rustic to blend in with the garden. It is a great place to store your garden tools and keep them out of the rain. For lots of ideas go to You will find one to suit your needs.
Todd Attoe and his love for gardening and getting into garden tools. I am always looking for some tool to make the job easier and less stressful in your gardening experience. I have been an avid gardener all of my life. For the gardening enthusiast, having quality tools and gardening accessories makes the outdoor experience all that more rewarding. Tools that are manufactured to higher specifications are more reliable and will perform better than the ones of the lesser standard, and with a minimum of maintenance. In addition, the time spent on repairing inexpensive or substandard instruments is all but eliminated, and as a result, the garden receives more quality attention. Unique garden tools brought to you by Hand tools, garden supplies, pots and planters, power tools and composting supplies

A Little History and Care For The Poinsettia

Poinsettia plants are native to Central America, especially an area of southern Mexico known as 'Taxco del Alarcon' where they flower during the winter. The ancient Aztecs called them 'cuetlaxochitl'. The Aztecs had many uses for them including using the flowers (actually special types of leaves known as bracts rather than being flowers) to make a purple dye for clothes and cosmetics and the milky white sap was made into a medicine to treat fevers.

The poinsettia was made widely known because of a man called Joel Roberts Poinsett (that's why we call them Poinsettia!). He was the first Ambassador from the USA to Mexico in 1825. Poinsett had some greenhouses on his plantations in South Carolina, and while visiting the Taco area in 1828, he became very interested in the plants. He immediately sent some of the plants back to South Carolina, where he began growing the plants and sending them to friends and botanical gardens.

The shape of the poinsettia flower and leaves are sometimes thought as a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem which led the Wise Men to Jesus. The red colored leaves symbolize the blood of Christ. The white leaves represent his purity.

The color of poinsettia bracts is truest and most brilliant when seen in natural light. While poinsettias grow under natural sunlight conditions, we seldom expose them to natural light in the market chain. In the consumer’s home, poinsettias are under interior lighting, however, the quality of home lighting is often superior to light used in the market. Light enhances or degrades bract color depending on the light source used to display poinsettias.

Light intensity and light quality are two important factors for poinsettia consumer satisfaction. Light intensity is the brightness of the amount of energy falling on the poinsettia. Poinsettia need a minimum amount of light energy to maintain their living processes. When the light intensity falls below this level the plants deteriorate, the leaves fall off and there is a reduction in consumer satisfaction.

Be careful when transporting poinsettia from the shop to your home in the winter, as the cold outdoor temperatures can damage the foliage. Always ask if the shop can wrap the plant in the paper right around the top of the foliage, or put it in a plastic bag so that it is completely protected.

Water poinsettia sparingly as overwatering can damage plants. As a rule of thumb, only water when the surface of the compost has begun to dry out. The flowering life of plants is extended by humidity, so mist plants regularly.

Feed monthly with a low nitrogen, high potassium fertilizer.

Getting plants to color up again next year
Poinsettias are often disappointing in their second year, but this is the best way to try and get a good display from them in their second year.

Prune back the plants hard in April, to about 10cm (4in).
Repot them, growing them in a light, cool place over summer. A temperature of 15-18°C (60-65°F) is ideal.
Flowering and bract coloring is initiated by short winter day-length, occurring naturally in December and January. So from November onwards, plants should be put in a dark room after twelve hours of daylight and protected from artificial light sources.
Plants need a constant temperature of around 18°C (55°F) to color up well, so make sure they do not get too cold

My wife and I have ours for 14 years now. It is easy to remember, because of the fact we have married 14 years ago on December 23 and I have kept it alive. Every summer I have cut it back, let it enjoy the summer warmth and start the cycle over again. It has gone through a few pot sizes over the years she is now in a 5-gallon container, just starting to turn red, getting ready for Christmas. Last year the poinsettia bract's have stayed bright red up until April then they fade and wait to go outside usually about June in our neck of the Northwoods.Brought to you by enjoy and make sure to have some Christmas colors of the poinsettia around your house. You don't have to buy one every year, try to see how long you can keep it alive? Have fun with it.

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