I can garden in my wheelchair thanks to these raised garden beds
I thought my gardening days were over, but these beds kept me going.
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Once I started using a wheelchair part time, I thought my gardening days were over. I can’t squat or bend down comfortably, and as my disabilities progressed my gardening enjoyment steadily decreased. I realized that if I was going to continue gardening, I’d have to change how I do things.
I put down layers of cardboard to keep my wheelchair wheels from getting muddy and started researching accessible raised garden beds. I bought a Keter Easy Grow 31.7 Gallon Raised Garden Bed because Amazon would ship it to my home, and because it had great reviews. Now I can roll into the garden and work sitting down, without having to stress or cause harm to my body. In the last four years, I’ve grown various plants: carrots, giant dill, bush and vine beans, sage, nasturtiums, tomatoes, lettuces, marigolds, and more. Everything I’ve planted has done well in the bed.
The Keter Garden Bed has allowed me to grow veggies without having to bend down, and that makes it great for wheelchair users and people with mobility issues who would benefit from gardening from a seated position.
What I like
I’ve had two Keter beds for four years now, and they’re both still going strong. I ordered one from Amazon, and it arrived cracked after the delivery person tossed the box over the fence. Amazon sent a replacement, and I set up both of them. The cracked one tends to hold more water in the reservoir and overflow more often, but it’s still usable. I spotted a few other people who had similar issues in online reviews, which makes me think that Keter could do a better job packaging the product.
The Keter has a reservoir that holds water and a plug to drain any excess. The self-watering design holds just the right amount of water, allowing the roots to tap into the stored water as needed while draining any excess and ensuring that the roots don’t get soggy. There’s also a water gauge that tells you when you need to add more. Here in Hawai’i, where it rains a lot and we have very wet winters, I leave the stopper open and just water the plants daily when I’m watering everything else in the yard. I learned this the hard way when I’d left the plug closed on one, and tropical storm rains drowned the worms and plants. Its self-watering reservoir and drainage plug are handy for the new weather uncertainty that many of us are experiencing due to climate change.
It’s lightweight but still large enough for square-foot gardening
I found the planter to be very easy to put together. The only tool needed is a Phillips head screwdriver or electric drill to attach the legs to the body, and at 18.5 pounds when empty, it’s very lightweight and easy to move and store. The bed can hold 31.7 gallons or roughly 100 dry quarts (two large bags) of potting soil. I needed my husband’s help to fill the planters, but once the heavy stuff was out of the way, I’ve had no trouble managing it on my own in my chair. I’ve noticed a reduction in grubs and other wee nasties compared to in-ground beds, and unless a bird drops a volunteer seed, I don’t have to weed at all.
The bed is deep enough to grow larger container plants like cherry tomatoes and root veggies like carrots. If you’re a square-foot gardener, this is the bed for you—narrow enough that you can reach the stuff in the middle, even in a wheelchair, and long enough that you can get several squares in each row.
They’re attractive and durable
The raised bed is made of polypropylene resin and comes in two different colors- brown and graphite (gray). It’s stylish, with a slight, graceful curve to the legs. It has a rattan pattern and matches other outdoor furniture and storage products in the Keter line. Other than damage to a leg from a weedwhacker, and the crack in one that occurred during delivery, my raised beds still look very good for their age. The heavy-duty material is sturdy and stands up to the heat, humidity, and corrosive salt air from the ocean (I live by the beach) very well. Mine are in the strong Hawaiian sunshine all year long, and after four years, there is still no visible fading.
What I don’t like
There are a few minor drawbacks to the bed. The water gauge is pretty flimsy, and the tube that holds the indicator tends to fill up with dirt, rendering it useless. Since it doesn’t have wheels, once it’s full it’s not moving anywhere. It is relatively expensive. I’ve seen it on sale occasionally, but otherwise, it hovers around $100. Not too bad if you only want one, but if you’re looking to create an accessible garden that grows enough to feed you or a family, you’ll need a few, and they add up quickly. Finally, due to the depth of the bed, you can’t roll a wheelchair under it like with a table-style raised bed, though it’s narrow enough that I don’t have any issues reaching across to the other side.
Should you buy one?
Overall, I’ve been very pleased with my Keter Easy Grow Raised garden beds. They make gardening easier and more enjoyable, and they save me from injuries and pain. They’re durable, stylish, and super easy to put together. I highly recommend it for wheelchair users, and anyone else who would benefit from sitting down to garden.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.