JoAnne Skelly: Helpful tips from aging gardeners

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my body demanding that I change my overly athletic approach to gardening. The following are some great ideas that readers sent me on gardening smarter.

Patty suggests Flexilla lightweight garden hoses because they are easier to drag around and coil up more easily than most hoses. Another helpful suggestion was to use a lightweight plastic snow shovel with a long handle as a dustpan for raking and sweeping to reduce bending.

Anita, reports, “I, too, love to garden but feel the march of time. Some recent changes I have made include changing my 30-year-old wheelbarrow for a light, heavy-duty plastic, two-wheeler. The capacity is the same but lighter and no strength is needed to keep it balanced.” She recommends not to garden in the heat of the day.

Debbie too is addicted to gardening. She has a four-wheel cart that she can sit on or use to move things around the yard. She does say it is just not the same and she misses what she used to do. She calls it, “The universe’s idea of a bad joke.” While many books suggest raised beds as we age, she has tried them, but found them too small. It didn’t help that her dogs loved to dig in them as well.

Kathi wrote about some indispensable gardening items she discovered. One was a garden seat called the Garden Hopper that is perfect for scooting around on to pull weeds. The other is an ergonomic digger that has a leverage bar, which she says makes all the difference when digging up pesky weeds. The Hula Ho is another helpful tool for weeding.

My friend Maud had an unusual idea to simplify her garden chores after her “lawn mower moved away to go to college.” She got Toulouse geese and has had them for over a decade, one or two at a time. They mow the lawn and fertilize as they go. Since the geese first came, she has changed her grass from traditional lawn varieties to short sheep fescue. Since this type needs much less mowing, she thinks the current gander Lautrec will be their last goose. She also replaced much of her lawn with stone pavers, further reducing maintenance.

Remember, as my friend Angela says, “We are not growing old, we’re growing plants!”

The product information given is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by Cooperative Extension is implied. JoAnne Skelly is the Carson City/Storey County Extension educator for University of Nevada Cooperative Extension and may be reached at or 887-2252.


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