Planning your gardening health

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Despite the frigid temperatures and icy, snowy weather that have plagued us this winter, rest assured it won't be long until the first robins return to brighten our days and make us think of beautiful, refreshing Spring!

For many, Spring means it's time for the enjoyable rigors of annual gardening. There is more to growing veggies and flowers than you think. Experts point out common mistakes made by even the most experienced gardeners and the right ways to improve your gardening "health." Only when you garden using proper form and technique do you reap its full benefits.

Stretch before and after you weed, dig, or hoe in the garden. Do warm-up for five minutes before stretching and stretch again before your cool-down. Your body will thank you.

Change your garden activity every three to five minutes. Don't hoe or rake for hours on end. Mix up your gardening chores.

Ease into it. After a long winter, be gentle on yourself as you begin early spring gardening.

Protect your back from soreness and injury. Bend from the knees. Keep your back straight as you squat down from the knees and raise straight up using your legs.

Keep your gardening ambitions in line with your time and ability. A smaller garden will be less work. Plan your garden so you plant bed one in April, bed two in May, bed three in June, and so on.

Choose tools that are pulled and pushed, like a scuffle hoe, which slices the earth as you pull it.

Make certain your tools are of adequate length to avoid stooping. Don't exacerbate a previous back or knee problem using poorly designed, short handled tools. Use ergonomic tools to help you accomplish more and work longer with less risk of injury.

Have a wonderful Spring and enjoy your harvest this year!