Tips for gardening with arthritis

Brynmor Member Posts: 1,764
edited 7. Feb 2023, 09:13 in Sports and Hobbies

The sun is out, and the sky is blue, so it’s the perfect time to get stuck into the gardening. Spending some time outside on these longer and lighter days can help our wellbeing too, especially in this time of lockdown. It's a chance to enjoy nature, plant some seeds, watch the birds and boost your vitamin D.

For people with arthritis, gardening can be more of a challenge. If you get tired easily and have painful joints, tending your plants may seem like more trouble than it’s worth, but we can all enjoy the pleasures of gardening if we change how we do it. 

Read our tips on gardening with arthritis:



  • Mike1
    Mike1 Member Posts: 1,992

    I have always enjoyed gardening and growing my own but as my OA rapidly spread and got worse I became unable to carry on. To make life easier and also to negate the overwhelming feeling of frustration when I looked at it I decided that the best thing would be to put in plastic grass, raised beds etc. Being physically unable to do the work myself I contacted gardening clubs in Cornwall and groups that supposedly offer help to the disabled and only one responded and that was in the negative. Not having much spare cash to be able to enage someone to do it and also pay for the materials I needed I approached the Gardening For The Disabled Trust and they were able to pay for the materials up to a limit, all they wanted was photos of the way the garden was and a plan of what I wanted, then all I had to do was submit invoices for everything that I purchased for the garden. Afterwards they asked for photos and a bit of a write-up about how the alterations had improved life for me. All in all a good experience which enabled me to get most of what I wanted done. Well worth a look if you are in a similar situation.

  • Kazza52
    Kazza52 Member Posts: 74

    I love being out in the sunshine and tending my garden. When the weather is hot and sunny I do gardening for about an hour each day and if I can I sit down when weeding, potting, etc.

    Some garden centres are also doing home deliveries to people who are shielding which is a great help.

    I also find that the sun (but remember to use sunscreen) has a beneficial effect on my joints and find that when gardening/sitting in the garden my joint pain subsides.

    If you are able to get in your garden it also helps with your mental wellbeing.

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,724
    edited 22. Nov 2021, 15:19

    I thought I’d resurrrect this post as there appear to be a few new forum members who are keen but frustrated gardeners. If anyone wants to add more tips on what they’ve found works for them, I’m sure it would be really helpful. @Brynmor , the link to the article doesn’t seem to be working. Would you be able to share it again please?

    Thanks for letting us know @Lilymary , sorry it's taken a while to spot the discussion! Link now replaced Yx

  • wazz42
    wazz42 Member Posts: 233

    A tip from me too

    I can only do any task for at the most 30 minutes before I have to stop completely/change job/stretch muscles so I select some songs on my phone and when they finish I know it's time to break off. Hard if you are in the middle of something but so much better than not getting into the garden at all the next day, and maybe the next as well

    Hope it helps x

  • Spider
    Spider Member Posts: 4

    I too love gardening but cannot kneel anymore! Help!!!

  • Fran54
    Fran54 Member Posts: 141

    Hi Spider

    I too love gardening and also because of osteoarthritis in my right knee, I cannot kneel anymore. A few years ago, I bought one of those seats/kneelers which you can sit on. I find it quite helpful when weeding individual pots. As for general weeding I use a long handled hoe for digging up the weeds, then I use it as a prop to bend down and pick up the weeds.

    I do limit myself to about half an hour of gardening at one time, as I know I will suffer the next day otherwise!

    I must admit that now I have a gardener to come in and do the more strenuous jobs, like digging over the vegetable patches, then get my lovely husband to plant the veggies for me😊 ( He does suffer with back problems, but does help me when he can)

    I find my garden helps me too relax and is a diversion from thinking too much about my health problems. Hope this helps.

  • Fran54
    Fran54 Member Posts: 141


    Just an update from me.

    With the weather warming up over the last few days I have not been doing an awful lot of gardening ( I can't garden in the heat). However, I find that an early morning stroll up and down the garden, does make me focus on a few things and if I see a handful of weeds they get pulled up. Sometimes I find it easier just to meander around and do bits whenever I see it needs to be done, rather than set a certain time, like I have mentioned before.

    I have some veggie plants that are ready to go in the ground soon, but with little rain, the soil is rock hard ( I have clay soil ). Does anyone else have this problem? I could use my hosepipe, but am trying to keep water usage down as much as possible ( I am on a water meter now, so am aware of water usage).

    Anyway, there is a weather warning where I live that thunderstorms could be possible, so hopefully will help solve the dry ground problem. Better get started on the rain dance😁.

  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 28,510

    I certainly did have this problem @Fran54 but recent rainfall has solved it and my soil isn't clay.

    In the longer term I am thinking of making my own Ollas? Have you heard of them? If not give it a quick internet search and see what you think. I think quite a few in my main veggie bed would be good. I have planter for veggies like lettuce and made that self watering already.

    We are not on a meter (yet) but I know how valuable a resource water is these days.

    Best of luck

    Toni xx

  • Fran54
    Fran54 Member Posts: 141


    well we did get the thunderstorm and rain in the night, thank goodness.

    I have looked up Ollas and yes, they do look like a good idea. Although I have clay soil, it can hold onto the moisture more than other types.

    I am very aware of water and how valuable it is these days, not just in this country either. I have a water butt and also collect water in buckets I have placed strategically under the sloping roof of my shed. It is surprising how much water can be collected that way. Also, my washing up water goes on the plants as well.

    Have put my veggie plants outside to catch the rainwater and it is surprising how quickly they have grown. All I need now is for my hubby to plant them for me! My strawberry plants are coming on well, plenty of green strawberries, so just need the sun to ripen them off.

    By the way, does anyone have problems with gooseberry bushes? This is the second year running that all the leaves have been stripped off, there are still some gooseberries growing, but am not sure if they will mature. Could the culprits be caterpillars? I always seem to have plenty of the large/small white butterflies in the garden. Does anybody have any ideas about this?

    Anyway, I could go on for longer, but will close for now. Keep looking at how quickly the grass is growing, but that is another matter for another day.😉

    Take care.