Since I was very naughty and totally derailed another thread with my garden-whitter *cough* I've started a new thread. I used to do a lot of manual work and also had an allotment, but I found by the time I walked to my plot I was too tired to work. Over time I've lost mobility more and more in my hands and being able to bend. Growing my own food has become of utmost importance to me, and so I gave made a lot of sacrifices and spent a fair bit of money to be able to keep gardening, mostly I've succeeded but I have been soundly defeated by "traditional" gardening - the ground bare entirely with rows of roses and so on. This area of my garden will be converted to more low maintenance system, as I've learned I just can't keep up anymore.
I've always done companion planting but even that has proven too much work, so I have switched to a permaculture system, this takes companion and no dig gardening many steps further - it composts, fertilises, locks in moisture and conditions soil all at once. The system has for my area has taken some time to create but I now have chickens to provide manure, which I use to mulch and create new layered beds (which I don't have to dig at all, there's no room for weeds to grow so no hoeing either). I've kept all my trees in tubs so they don't grow too quickly and I just top them up with chicken manure in winter. I've got loganberries growing along a fence, which has strawberries and comfrey growing underneath it, with a rotted manure mulch. the strawberries and comfrey are packed in so tightly the ground elder (a huge problem in my traditional bed) is choked out and can't get a foothold. This system provides me with food on a regular basis, and even when I am at my absolute worst symptoms-wise, I've got plenty of fruit and veg to harvest which is in an easily accessible place.
Gardening is a part of my business, I harvest and sell herbs, harvest cuttings from my trees to grind for incense, although I have also been asked about cuttings for propagation as well. The hens eat a lot of scraps (dandelions are great hen food!), and they provide eggs and manure for the garden. They aren't as difficult to care for as I had feared they might be, and they don't need much space either.
Now I don't want anyone to think this is only possible due to my admittedly very idyllic surroundings; I had to sacrifice a lot. There are no buses where I live, the closest supermarket is over ten miles away and I spend so much time indoors even the villagers here don't know I live here, and I've been here for almost three years now. I didn't have a car when I moved here and no school wanted my son attending due to his autism, so for a year everything was a real struggle. But my garden is my haven, my sanctuary, my peace. Nothing gives me ease like having my hands caked with dirt, and when you spend a good portion of your days only staring out a window, a good view is worth it. I have grown food in urban areas on top of apartment flats, in a broken down chest of drawers in suburbia, vertical gardens in windows when there was nowhere else to put anything at all. So it's possible, and I've always been a firm believer in brainstorming ways to allow people to continue to enjoy their pursuits even if isolated and housebound as I am.
If you've got gardening tips and tricks, I'd love to hear them! Any ideas on how to make a job easier or figure out how to garden on a budget? I've tonnes of links and resources if you need them, from Thrive,com to the gardening for disabled trust. Bring your achy green thumbs!