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GETTING INTO GARDENING SHAPE

Posted Mar 02 2010 7:45am

They've already started Spring training down in Tennessee. Nashville Garden Examiner's Dena Bolton gives us a preview of what we Chicago gardeners will be doing in another month or so .

Thanks for sharing this article with us, Dena .


We had beautiful weather this weekend in Tennessee! The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and I was outside in my garden. I got lots of the dead cut back that was left from the winter. I added compost and mulch to several of my flower beds. I got other beds ready for planting. I raked and clipped and pruned and cleaned up around the yard all weekend.

I cannot move that well this morning.

There is something we gardeners tend to forget during the winter months, while we peruse seed and bulb catalogs and read and write and talk about gardening. We sit inside wishing for spring, wishing for the day that we can start getting our gardens back in shape. We forget, however, that we ourselves are not in gardening shape.

I once heard a personal trainer on television say that gardeners do everything everyday that he has his clients do in the gym. We stretch, bend, squat, lift. We do a lot of walking, especially if we have a good-sized yard. I have a sloped yard. I realize how much of a slope there is when I start walking back up the hill from the bottom of our property. Guess this means that I really do not need a Stair Master.

My point is this – we probably should start out gradually working our way up to the strenuous activity that gardening requires. We need to realize that we have been stuck inside during a particularly long and cold winter and have not been using a lot of those muscles we normally use when gardening. Even those who might actually visit the gym will find that they are using different muscles when they start working in their gardens again on the first nice day or weekend that we have experienced in a while. We need to realize that we cannot do everything that needs to be done in one day or in one weekend. We need to realize that those 40-pound bags of compost or potting soil that we tossed around like they weighed virtually nothing last fall do actually feel like they weigh about 80 pounds each in the very early spring. We need to realize that all of the bending and squatting that only caused us to work up a sweat last summer can now make it difficult to get out of bed in the morning. In other words, we need to start out gradually. We might even consider doing some stretching exercises before attacking our yards. We should remember to drink lots of water as we progress, since this helps to keep those underused joints and muscles lubricated. We need to remember that just as we cannot get our gardens back into shape overnight, neither can we get back into gardening shape in one day.

Am I going to take my own advice? Well … the sun is shining again this morning, and the birds are singing ….

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