Category: Gimpy Gardening

May 23


Our friend Lori P. shares our passion for finding easier ways to garden and move heavy loads with less effort. Here’s her review of Vermont Garden Carts, which she says she couldn’t live without in her garden and elsewhere:

I have a delicate lower back and wonky knee and need all the help I can get when it comes to carrying things. I’m now 55 and have been using these Vermont Garden Carts since I was in my 20s and working in my first garden.

The cart is so well balanced that I can carry a full load of cordwood and easily flip it up to dump the load, without anyone helping me.

I’ve used them to carry everything from compost and buckets of water to hay, pumpkins, shrubs, ducks and even a lamb or two. Other members of my family have used the same cart to move gravel, car engines, wood stoves and heavy loads of automotive supplies.

Perfect for giving my nieces rides down to the garden, the carts comes in several sizes and can be taken apart for moving, if necessary. To me, my cart is priceless because it makes life so much easier.

Apr 3

cane1Cait came across this on Etsy and it’s giving us stick envy.cane2

Woodworkers in Texas at Brazo’s Walking Stick make these sturdy beasts from ash or oak with a 36-inch ruler on the side — perfect for placing plants in the garden.

The handsome Yard Stick has a metal tip which doubles as a dibber, so not only is it a sturdy walking aid, it’s also a functional garden tool.

We fancy it would make walking around the backyard a more majestic experience and quite elevate tedious, but necessary, summer-long bug smashing.

Mar 17

Liz McLellan is on a mission to turn front and back yards everywhere into gardens of abundance. She’s the founder of, a new Web site dedicated to hooking people up to yard-share in urban and suburban areas.

A hyperlocavore is a person who tries to eat as much food as locally as possible and, as Liz says, “growing your own is as local as it gets!”

Here in The Gimpy Gardens, we - Cait & Marty - share a large backyard packed with metal garbage cans and discarded livestock water and feed troughs used as raised beds. Come summer, it is a veritable suburban Garden of Eden.

We’ve signed on as members at Hyperlocavore and encourage you to do the same. It’s a great way to match people of different physical abilities to get more from the land and life.

You can follow Liz here, where she alerts us to the latest videos and news on yard-sharing.

Sep 19

The New York Times has two stories today that speak to our Gimpy Girl hearts. The first requires little money and is not for the squeamish. The second requires big bucks and has something for everyone.

Read the story talks with New Yorkers about the ups and downs of keeping worms in the city.

The story is fine, but the graphic is not — too much food in too small a bin. Worms are not going to be happy and neither are the apartment dwellers when flies arrive and the bedding begins to smell. Read our post for more information on successful worm composting.

This second story is akin toRead the story to make life easier. The homes are fabulous and so are the designers. Here’s a quote from one:

‘I want people to know no matter whether they have mental or physical disabilities’ — change that word to differences — ‘they are only disabled if they can’t do what they want to do. Architecture can eliminate disability by design.’ You see my point. If you are in a house where you can do what you want to do, you’re not disabled anymore.’

Jan 23

Whether you are a Baby Boomer, disabled or just plain lazy, these are bleak times for gardeners here in Zone 5. (Tonight, it’s minus 6 degrees fahrenheit with a predicted wind chill of around minus 20)

For inspiration and reminders that winter WILL end, we’ve been turning to Carol, a Zone 5 gardener from Indiana who writes May Dreams Gardens, a Web site for people who dream of “the days in May when the sun is warm, the skies are blue, the grass is green and the garden is all new again.”

Carol, who just made SPPOTGWLS or “the Society”).

The Gimpy Girls follow Carol on Indy Gardener. And if you need some bucking up from winter, Carol can do it for you.

here, she reminds us sweetly, yet powerfully, of what is just two months down the road.

She knows a “wicked lot” about gardening inside and out, and if you are having trouble hanging on to May dreams, bookmark her or stick her in your Google Reader as we have. She’ll get your gardening dreams into shape and back on track.

Nov 28

Melinda Shrum Alexander, a friend of Marty’s for the last 25 years, tends a gorgeous garden in Massachusetts with her husband, Mark. Here, she writes about using old pillows when she gardens:

I was told that Christina, seen above, was “Gimpy,” that she had crawled her way into this picture! So it seems appropriate to use her for the “Garden Pillow” post. Wouldn’t Christina be more comfortable if she was set upon a beautiful pillow, rich with the tapestries of the 1940s?
Using a garden pillow came to me when I could no longer bend, when my flat ass provide little cushion, when my knobby knees hit every pebble or rock and my long legs and aching back needed a rest. 

Oh to be reclined, set on a pillow in my garden, lazily plucking weeds, watching bees, planting seedlings or just taking in the glorious smell of my rich soil.

The perfect pose for a Lazy Girl in her garden basking in the sun. I have used old couch pillows, chair cushions from the sixties, goose down and store bought.

No matter the type, a garden pillow will set you above the rest and be the envy of your neighbors. It is the kind of gesture that if you saw me on my pillow you would knock your head and say “Why didn’t I think of that!”

Oct 19

Cait loves gourds as seen by this year’s backyard harvest.

guords.jpgMarty admits to not understanding the whole gourd thing, viewing them as impractical because you can’t eat them and most are too small to make good bird nests.

But around here gardens are a shared venture so the Gimpy Girls raised a variety of gourds, which grew abundantly among the vines of the tomatoes, the cucumbers and the peas.

Oct 15


Cait photographed this House Finches descended for a Fall feast.

It’s been soul-satisfying watching the birds gorge themselves on the many sunflowers we planted near the kitchen windows this year.

Oct 9

Marty was wishing for one of these this morning as she made her fall cleanup rounds and never had the right tool at hand.

rover1.pngWhen she dog-proofed the bottom of the fence with chicken wire, she ran into dead branches and needed the tree trimmer. When she shoveled compost onto the raised beds, she spilled part of the load and needed a rake. When she stacked the tomato cages for winter, she need pliers to straighten out some of the wire.

With the Garden Rover there would have been much time saved and far fewer trips back and forth searching for the right tool.

The ergonomically designed Garden Rover works as a hand truck to carry heavy sacks and its makers say it rolls with ease over uneven terrain and can be moved with one hand.rover2.png

The Garden Rover has a place to bag leaf and garden debris, pouches and compartments for numerous garden goodies and even a beverage holder.

Check it out at Life With Ease, a family-owned company in New Hampshire with very interesting home, office, garden and garage products.

Oct 8

Cait thinks you might coerce neighbor kids into helping you clean up your yard if you were to offer them these Bear Claw Scoops, which look like more fun than a regular rake.


If your neighbors’ kids are like ours, they will disappear with the job half done. (That’s because Marty — aka The Sucker — always pays them in advance, so they have no reason to stay.)

If that happens and the cleanup all comes back on you, these Bear Claws not only pick up a large amount of debris but they have supports over the back of the wrist to increase hand strength and stability.


Cait also has her sights set on this Rolling Leaf Sweeper which, as she says, “Sure looks like it beats the hell out of raking.”

And don’t forget about the Power Rake we previewed in an earlier post. The Power Rake’s design lets you work the rake without having to lift it as much as a traditional rake.

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