Why I Love Container Gardening

Monday, November 07, 2011

The humble beginnings
of my container garden
(circa 2006)
Chronic illness affects so many aspects of my life. Sadly, that includes all the fun ones too.

When I first became disabled, I thought Cool, I'll have more time for arts and crafts projects. Boy, was I wrong. With a chronic pain nexus in my neck, traveling down my arms and into my hands, doing anything for more than 15 to 20 minutes with my hands guarantees a flare-up.

Which means I have a lot of time on my hands, but hands won't cooperate to let me do anything with that time.

Luckily for me, I discovered container gardening a few years into my chronic pain journey thanks to a push from an occupational therapist.

The great thing about container gardening is that it lends itself to doing just a little bit each day.  It makes breaking down big tasks into small, manageable steps very easy: I can literally just focus on one container at a time if that is all the energy I have for today.  Plus containers don't need as much time and attention as in-ground gardening does.  There are fewer weeds to pull and less nuisances to contend with like annoying bugs, pests and plant diseases.  Oh, and I don't have to stand, kneel, bend over, lift or put myself into all the other body positions that make my chronic pain worse. 

Most importantly, when I look outside the window into my backyard I experience an enormous sense of accomplishment gazing upon the fruits--and vegetables--of my labor.  Dare I say that container gardening has become a source of instant gratification for me...

Truth is, I've always wanted a backyard garden.  Growing up, my Dad always planted a vegetable garden every year.  My family had several fruit trees: plum, apricot, peach, grapefruit, pomegranate and lemon.  I loved summer time when all the fruits came ripe--I couldn't get enough of them.

But when I was working full-time I never could quite find the time to get my garden going.

How ironic is it that chronic illness made my gardening dreams come true, albeit on a much smaller scale than I had planned? 

Plus my garden actually helps with my diabetes management. All those vegetables are an important part of my diet, providing choices that don't count as carbohydrates (and raise my blood sugar.)  With very low calories, lots of beneficial fiber and loads of vitamins and nutrients, not to mention great taste, growing my own vegetables makes enjoying them a whole new satisfying experience.

Is there such a thing as vegetable heaven? Because I think my backyard is slowly being transformed into one.  Despite my chronic illnesses, which you can read more about here, I seem to be able to add a little bit more gardening space, a.k.a. more containers, every year; I have to thank to my hubby for this because he is the one who helps me get new containers set up.

Who knows, maybe by contributing to this blog I'll inspire some other sick chicks along the way to try container gardening too...like you! 

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