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National Allotments Week

National Allotments Week in partnership with the Stroke Association

GARDENING

National Allotments Week returns from 7 to 13 August and this year we are showing our support for the Stroke Association, who we have partnered with since 2020

According to the Stroke Association, there are an estimated 1.3 million stroke survivors in the UK

Stroke strikes every five minutes and over 100,000 people have strokes each year. It’s very important that after having a stroke you take time to slowly rebuild your strength, build up your confidence and spend time doing activities that you enjoy

Depending on where you are with your recovery, it’s important that you choose an activity that suits you – and  with gardening there are plenty of options for you to enjoy. You may want to talk to your physiotherapist, occupational therapist or GP before starting gardening – so they can advise you on what’s right for you and any adaptations you may need

Gardening and spending time in nature can be incredibly restorative after having a stroke and can help to support your physical health allowing you to build back your strength and also benefit your well-being

From garden adaptions, tools and even plant types there are lots of easy changes you can make to your outdoor space to ensure you can still enjoy gardening. Read on to find out more

Beds & borders

Beds and borders feature in many gardens and allotments and are a great way for stroke survivors to be able to garden accessibly and without causing over exertion. Narrowing your beds and borders allows you to reach across without overstretching

For those with less mobility, having large, raised beds that are elevated can be extremely helpful, as it means you don’t have to lean down to plant. If you are unable to have raised beds you can also get smaller containers and plant them sitting down at a table – this is also a great social activity as everyone can sit round together and have fun planting their own container! 

One seasonal task you can do with your raised beds is to start growing your own vegetables in time to harvest for Christmas. This activity can be done in a variety of sized planters, makes for a great social activity, plus a very delicious reward at the end for all your hard work!  

First, prepare your bed before you plant your vegetables, layer your planter by adding topsoil, followed by organic matter like farmyard manure. Make sure to use Dobbies water retaining granules, which can hold up to 60% of their own weight in water – helping to cut down on how frequently you need to water your planter. Next, feed with chicken manure and mulch with Bloomin Amazing, which will feed the soil, retain moisture and reduce the need for weeding. Finally, add in your Christmas vegetables including delicious potatoes for roasting on Christmas Day! 

To ensure your beds and borders are easy to manage and remain fertile we recommend the ‘no dig’ gardening method. Instead of disturbing the soil structure by digging you can apply compost or manure to the soil surface which emulates the natural process of decomposition – allowing plants, fungi and soil organisms to break down and incorporate the organic matter into the soil. Plus, by not digging you don’t accidently bring weed seeds and roots to the surface, and the layer of organic matter acts as a weed-suppressing and water retaining mulch

Plants

Choosing lower maintenance plants such as lavender, sedum, grasses and agapanthus which need less watering can help with how much time you need to spend in the garden. This also applies to other plants such as picking dwarf varieties of fruit trees, as some never grow beyond one metre in height – allowing you to prune without having to reach up and overstretch

Tools

Tools are an essential part of every gardener’s inventory. Lightweight and extendable long handled tools can make a real difference in making sure you remain comfortable whilst gardening.  The Gardena extendable range is recommended as it will ensure you can reach all areas of your garden even if you have mobility limitations, but you should always consider your own personal mobility. For more information on the Gardena range, ask team members in store

 

If you would like to support the Stroke Association, visit here to donate Fundraising and Partnerships | Dobbies Garden Centres