Do you know one of those aggravating people who just won't wait for someone to help with heavy lifting or tough chores and then complain about their aching back (or knees, or shoulders)? Oh?? That person is you (or me)?? You call yourself plucky or a doer? There is no cure for this personality disorder, so the solution is to use tools, techniques, and tricks that enable you to keep diving into the projects that you love.
Now, I am a person who values frugality (some call me cheap) and I can count on two hands the essential tools for a gardener, but those tools need to be the best available in order to allow us to work efficiently and intelligently. It's like having a really good knife in the kitchen- it is actually safer then a cheap, dull one.
I don't trust myself with a chain saw, so I use Swiss pruners, a wonderful small folding saw, a bow saw, and a pole pruner. Oh, and plain old scissors.I really love my Hori-hori knife- its a trowel with serrated and straight blades- but remember, the cheap imitations are worthless! I have edging and transplanting shovels, but I never use them- my shield shaped digging shovel can do it all. There are excellent D-handled shovels just for the different center of gravity of women (in three lengths-hurrah for us shorties), and I have one but I still end up with old faithful.
There is no avoiding the CURSED WEEDS, so it helps to think of weeding as Zen meditation. For a little while anyway, then you can curse them again. Remember that if you don't cover the ground, nature will. Three sheets of newspaper covered with mulch, straw or grass clippings will buy you time, but there will always be places where you have to get down and dirty with them. The problem is getting up again, and for this there is a wonderful kneeler with handles that when you turn it over becomes a seat. There is even a handy wheeled cart that you can scoot around on.
There is no avoiding a certain amount of lifting and moving heavy stuff. STOP! It is time to apply your high school physics to garden tasks. Remember levers and fulcrums? Even I can move some pretty heavy trees and pots with the right equipment. A good dolly is only about $80- Get one! A child's sled after Christmas costs almost nothing and makes sliding stuff around a breeze. Always have a decent tarp around- its amazing what you can move on one of these.
We have thought of so many more garden "enablers" that we are going to devote one of our Saturday Morning Chats to them. We want you to "keep calm and garden on". So stop in and tell us your secret weapons too!