Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tenacious Tip Tuesday – Tools for Getting Up and Down

Garden plants, and the weeds that love them, live much closer to the ground than we do and reaching to care for them presents the gardener with a problem – bending over all the time and damaging your joints further or parking your butt on the ground and risk not getting up again. In the old days, one might carry a walking stick or staff to help lever oneself up from a sitting position but this is not always a convenient solution. What happens if you’ve wandered away from your prop? It’s a dilemma.
While I am not an old-fashioned person, I am a practical one and any device that allows me to keep working in the garden is a welcome one. I do actually have a staff of sorts to help with the ups and downs of gardening life. It’s a ski pole that someone left next to the old fire pit when we first bought our house and, from the blackened tip, I presume it was used as a poker. With the loop on the end and the strength of the metal, though, it makes a superior walking stick and lever. The sharp point also makes it handy for marking out new beds.
Ski Pole, minus the snow guard at the bottom
Unfortunately, there are times when a simple staff is not enough to get my backside off the ground. At times like that, I rely on an odd device that functions as both a kneeler and a seat, depending on which side is up. As a kneeler, the 2 sides stick up, giving you sturdy braces to pull yourself upright. Fortunately, while I have a bad back and bad left knee, there is nothing wrong with my upper body strength and those uprights are all I need to get vertical.
Levering myself up with the kneeler
You can also flip it over and use it for a seat. The wide sides that helped you get up also provide sturdy and stable legs for sitting on. I like to use this for pruning taller plants and shrubs; bending over just slightly is actually more painful than bending all the way to the ground. With this seat, I don’t have to bend at all.
The kneeler/seat usually runs around $35 to $50 at most of the sites I checked.
The kneeler as a seat
For folks who may have difficulty with upper body strength and have limited leg strength, it might be best not to get down on the ground at all. I certainly have days like that and the kneeler above can be very helpful when I just want to work at sitting level. However, it’s too high to do serious weeding or planting, unless you are working in waist-level raised beds. To work closer to the ground, I count on my Scoot-n-Do.


I bought this many, many moons ago and in all that time it has only taken minor damage, despite being dropped from pickup trucks and wheelbarrows onto every surface imaginable. It features a nicely padded seat, roomy carry space under the seat for small tools, and space next to the seat for larger items. There is even a cup holder for the beverage of your choice. I recommend a nice, frosty . . . root beer.
There are several versions of the Scoot-n-Do on the market, many now made of metal with swiveling seats and pump up tires, instead of the very sturdy plastic of my model. I’m not sure you can even get the plastic version anymore (I wasn’t able to find it, but your Google-fu may be better than mine). The metal ones run from $80 to $130, depending on the features you add on – detachable baskets, seat pads, etc.
These are the particular items I count on to go from vertical to horizontal and back again. How about you folks? Any other devices you care to mention?

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