• 54°

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

Business

With remote expansion, outsource provider FCR looks to become an ‘exceptional part’ of Rowan community

Local

City expects $1.5 million surplus in current budget, ability to raise some wages for police, public works

Education

Enochville Elementary to host farewell event May 1

College

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson will speak at NC State graduation

High School

High school softball: Carson beats West in a wild one

High School

Wonders, Trojans facing off Monday on Cannon Ballers’ field

Local

City approves two apartment developments, more than 160 new units

Nation/World

Crowds react with joy, wariness to verdict in Floyd’s death

News

Bill seeks to end pistol purchase permits from NC sheriffs

Coronavirus

Rowan County sees 300th death attributed to COVID-19

News

Chauvin convicted on all counts in George Floyd’s death

Local

Top North Carolina House finance chair, Rowan representative stripped of position

Crime

One charged, another hospitalized in fight between cousins

Local

Bell Tower Green renamed to honor Stanbacks; Nancy Stanback receives key to city

Business

Commissioners green light additional houses at Cherry Treesort in China Grove

Education

A.L. Brown will hold in-person, outdoor graduation

Local

Granite Quarry awards FEMA contract for Granite Lake Park

Local

City to vote on apartment developments, final phases of Grants Creek Greenway project

High School

High school football: North receiver McArthur a rising star

Columnists

Carl Blankenship: Pollen and prejudice make their return

News

Harris pitches $2.3T spending plan on trip to North Carolina

Nation/World

Murder case against ex-cop in Floyd’s death goes to the jury

Crime

Sheriff’s office: Man takes deputies on chase with stolen moped

Coronavirus

Afternoon, evening COVID-19 vaccination clinic planned Thursday