Container Gardening: Be Good to Your Back!

I’m almost done with my autumn garden clean-up duties. I’ll still need to remove a few remaining defunct tomato plants from their large containers to make way for planting vegetable seeds. Because of some back problems, it’s occasionally difficult for me to dig directly into the garden soil, whether to make a hole to place a new plant, digging a trench, or removing defunct plants whose old roots are still enmeshed deep into the soil. That’s hard work! I did that in my early years as a homeowner, but knowing my physical realities and my desire for homegrown good-eats, container gardening has been a tremendous blessing.

Unless the bottoms of my containers are rotted out or the roots have found their way through the bottom drain holes and anchored themselves firmly into the garden soil, at the end of each season, it usually takes me no more than one or two firm pulls to have the full defunct plant removed, roots and all. There’s no digging!

Shopping Tip: The potting soil I purchase usually comes in 2 to 3 cubic feet bags. I ask the store to have someone load them in my car. When I get home, I load them onto a convertible hand truck (it converts into a helpful dolly, on pneumatic wheels), and off I go in one trip to the backyard (vs. carrying one bag at a time), ready to fill up my containers! My convertible hand truck ( is a powerful tool that allows me to work in my garden efficiently and comfortably. Be good to your back!


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