• 34°

Home & Garden: Darrell Blackwelder: Tips to make gardening less strenuous

After a few days’ work in the yard, many of us have one thing in common; we’re sore and can’t function normally for two or three days. My wife and I laid on the sofa in sheer agony just hours after our recent spring lawn cleanup.

Being somewhat dormant for a relatively long winter causes unused muscles to become stiff and tight. Over exertion and soreness take much of the pleasure out of spring gardening. Below are a few tips that may make gardening efforts less painful.

Take time to stretch before strenuous work. Athletes stretch and warm up before entering their field of battle. Home gardeners should do likewise when battling weeds and planting.

Be sure to take frequent breaks. During hot and humid weather, it’s important to take breaks.  Work early mornings or late in the afternoon, avoiding the heat of the day.

Use labor-saving devices. Ergonomically correct tools are great for those with a touch of arthritis. Knee pads work wonders for the knee caps, reducing strain from tasks that require constant bending. Padded handled tools with large grips reduce strain of extended gripping. Use soft leather gloves to reduce incidence of blisters.

Maintain tools for maximum ease. Gardening tools should be sharp and in good shape. One may have to read instructions to learn how to properly use garden equipment.

Protect your skin. Wear a hat when working outdoors. Broad-brimmed hats reduce chance of melanoma (skin cancer) to the face and neck. Baseball caps offer minimal protection; be sure to use sunscreens on the ears and neck. Sunscreens are beneficial in reducing harmful rays of the sun. Use sunscreen and lip balm with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. Apply a generous amount of sunscreen and reapply after swimming, toweling dry, or perspiring. Use sunscreen even on hazy or overcast days.

Protect against insect pests. Mosquitoes can make outdoor gardening miserable, especially in late evening. Check yourself regularly for ticks. Use recommended insect repellents when warranted.

Consult your doctor. Sore muscles and aches may be quelled with over-the-counter pain relievers, but you may want to make sure if the pain is persistent. Gardening requires constant physical exertion. Physical exertion coupled with extreme temperatures could spell trouble. Talk to your physician to make sure you’re OK for gardening exercise

Have a realistic plan. Do not try to achieve impossible goals. Save the herculean tasks for times when you have ample help or are in good shape.

Darrell Blackwelder is the retired county extension director with horticulture responsibilities with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County.

Comments

Education

School board talks competency-based learning, receives new offer on Faith Elementary

Business

Chamber of Commerce warns buyers about used tractor company with Cleveland address

Local

American Legion Post plans cocktail sip

Local

Harold B. Jarrett Post to host blood drive

Coronavirus

17 new COVID-19 cases, one new death reported

Education

School meals expect a smooth transition for students

Nation/World

Fully vaccinated people can gather without masks, CDC says

Local

Lane, ramp closures scheduled for I-85 in Salisbury

Crime

Blotter: March 8

Ask Us

Ask Us: How can homebound seniors be vaccinated?

Local

Political Notebook: Interim health director to talk COVID-19 at county Democrats breakfast

Local

‘Their names liveth forevermore:’ Officials dedicate Fire Station No. 6 to fallen firefighters Monroe, Isler

Crime

Blotter: Salisbury man charged for breaking into Salisbury High, getting juvenile to help

Nation/World

With virus aid in sight, Democrats debate filibuster changes

Local

City officials differ on how, what information should be released regarding viral K-9 officer video

High School

High school basketball: Carson girls are 3A champions

Lifestyle

High school, college sweethearts marry nearly 50 years later

Local

With jury trials set to resume, impact of COVID-19 on process looms

Legion baseball

Book explores life of Pfeiffer baseball coach Joe Ferebee

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education to receive update on competency-based education

Business

Biz Roundup: Kannapolis expects to see economic, housing growth continue in 2021

Business

A fixture of downtown Salisbury’s shopping scene, Caniche celebrates 15th anniversary this month

Local

Slate of new officers during local GOP convention; Rev. Jenkins becomes new chair

Landis

Landis officials narrow search for new manager to five candidates; expect decision within a month