The hardest thing to raise

      The following post is by Master Gardener Ellen Skripsky:   

      Now that we have sprung forward with our clocks, we should be ready to spring into spring.  However, for some of us, springing up (from our knees) in the garden can be challenging.  

     Ergonomics is the study of how tools can be adapted to fit the needs of people, including gardeners.    Manufacturers have taken a closer look at common garden tools and redesigned them to keep an individual’s body in a neutral position while working.  This lessens the stress on joints and muscles and allows gardeners to work longer while exerting less energy.  Fairly new on the market, and a must for the beginner or experienced gardener, ergonomic garden tools are designed based on comprehensive research and extensive interviews.  They can be purchased at garden centers, through catalogs, gift shops with garden items and via the Internet. 

           Ergonomic Pruners feature non-slip ergonomic handles and a thumb control blade lock for one-handed operation.  The blades are angled at 30 degrees to they don’t need to be twisted while cutting.

         Ergonomic Trowels typically have large, soft handles with extra padding to reduce strain on the hands and arm muscles.

        Ergonomic Rakes are redesigned to reduce the strain on the back.  The contour handle appears to have been stepped on and bent, and allows the gardener a more comfortable stance, with less bending.

       Bionic Garden Gloves were designed by a surgeon, and these leather gloves incorporate additional padding for the thumb, fingers and palm.  Velcro closures allow the glove a snug fit.

      Double Knee Cushions are made of a molded polyurethane pad that supports and cradles the knees, eliminating any pain.

      A Kneeling Bench is great for weeding and planting; you can then use the handles to raise yourself to your feet without as much strain.  Turn it over and it becomes a sturdy bench to rest on.

  We think of the human body as a machine that wears out from constant use.  Actually, the body stays in condition and ages more slowly with exercise such as gardening and with the use of ergonomic tools.  As an anonymous gardener once said, “The hardest thing to raise in my garden are my knees.”     

2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Dick Lensing said,

    Ellen–I thought I took careful notes at your kitchen garden seminar at Kirkwood, but I’m thinking I must have misunderstood. I wrote that the planting mix was equal parts peat moss, compost, and vermiculite. That sounds like way too much vermiculite. Can you tell me what the correct amounts should be.

    Incidentally, this is my first attempt at a vegetable garden in 35 years or more, but I’ve really gotten into the garden you described. Mine is only 4 x 4 (walk before I run, I guess), but I’m really excited about it. In addition to the 2 x 12 x 4′ square base, I made a cage to go above it, two feet tall, with chicken wiire on each side, and the top. We live in deereville! I’ve been taking photos of each step of the construction process and would be happy to send them to you if they would help in any of your presentations. I also “invented” a plywood “seeder board”–a one foot square piece of plywood with nine or sixteen 3/8″ dowels poked through it 1/2″. I then drilled small holes into each dowel, so hope I’m able to persuade seeds to find their way to their happy resting place, in your recommended spacing.

    THANK YOU for your interesting (and motivational) presentation. Any help you (any other bloggers) can give is appreciated.

  2. 2

    Cindy said,

    Mr. Lensing,

    Ellen Skripsky wrote to answer your question. Here’s what she said:

    I am happy to assist. The recipe for the mix I suggested for a 4 x 4 12 inches deep is as follows:

    From Ellen’s Kitchen Garden lecture – The perfect soil for your new raised bed:
    6 cubic feet peat moss
    4 cubic feet of coarse vermiculite
    3 cubic feet sand
    3 cubic feet of compost
    Place peat moss and vermiculite on clean tarp, sprinkle with a bit of water to keep dust down. Use a mask and gloves to mix. Add sand and compost, To mix take two corners of the tarp and flip the tarp over itself several times. It helps to have two people doing this together.

    Thank you for requesting.

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