border of your raised bed from pressure treated lumber,
be sure to line it with heavy-gauge plastic to prevent arsenic
or other chemicals from seeping out of the wood.
In fact, many areas of the country require raised beds,
due to climate conditions. Bill Varney explains: “On the
Texas coast they have to grow herbs in raised beds because
it’s so humid”—an environment that can breed horticultural
disease. Actively avoiding soilborne disease proves much
easier than eradicating it, so Ken Cook of Plant Creations
in Homestead, Florida advises: “Herbs should be trimmed
regularly, whether they are used or not, and should be especially
trimmed up so no leaves are touching the soil.” This also
allows air to circulate under the plant and promotes drying.
If you plan to garden outdoors but have limited mobility
in your legs or you use a wheelchair, you need to create
a path to maneuver around your beds. A 4-foot wide path
allows wheelchairs and walkers to make 90-degree turns,
and a 5-foot width permits a 180-degree turn without reversing.
Your path should be level, slip-resistant, and low-maintenance.
Textured concrete and asphalt require relatively little
care, and wooden walkways work well with gravel underneath
to keep weeds from poking through cracks between the boards.
Gravel itself can be used for a path, provided the pieces
are very small and tightly packed.
When constructing a path for outdoor beds,
keep your needs (or the person for whom you’re building
it) in mind. People with limited vision will welcome the
sound of chimes to help orient themselves within the garden.
Herbal groundcovers that release scent when trampled by
feet or wheelchairs can provide the same assistance. Low-growing
mint (Mentha requierii) is one option that successfully
grows in the shade. For sunnier spots, try creeping thyme
(Thymus serpyllum) and ‘Treneague’ chamomile (Chamaemelum
nobile ‘Treneague’), also known as “lawn” chamomile.
Using herbs as groundcover also reduces the amount of time
and strenuous effort that lawn care requires.
Don’t think you have to give up the pleasure of growing
herbs just because physical challenges make it harder. Making
gardening accessible really just means gardening more efficiently—with
more time available to enjoy your harvest.