Spring is in the air🌬️🍃💮🏵️
Gardeners at sunrise
My first drawing of this creature way back when before I knew what I was drawing them for.
I’m going to skip the plant talk today and focus on something many gardeners tend to overlook: gardener care. Young and old and all those in betweeners need care. We tend to forget, dismiss or even disdain self care. Pause. If there is no self care then there is no garden care. You and your family and friends are then impacted as well. Everything is interconnected, the garden, the gardener, the world. Little piece to big pieces. Parts to whole.
The first thing is the hands. Gardening is hard work with overtime on the hands. Think of gardening as a contact sport and get appropriate equipment if you can. Gloves are a tremendous help and protection. I am all for always buying quality when you can. The little cotton gloves you buy will not last you a season. Doe skin is good in the wear and tear but will not give a good grip nor wet protection. I am fortunate enough to have available a glove, Atlas ™ in their winter grey [ergonomically correct design, latex coated palm, palm and finger coating over a durable knit double napped liner, latex is textured for superior grip and the extra liner is ideal for cold weather environment conditions, it also gives added cushioning]. Because of where I live (I think the average mean temperature is 60F/ 15c) these are pretty much four season gloves for me. If you live in hotter/extremes climes, these would be great for Winter/early Spring (cold/ wet). If you can afford it, get two pairs: one dry if one pair is wet or messy/ lost gloves, have spare! If you are in a place with seasons, do what you can with what is offered but think quality because it will save you money in the end because they will last longer and less in replacement cost. If you forgo gloves, make sure you take extra steps to good hand care and hygiene. Scrap, cuts and punctures can be serious business so be aware and take extra good care. Be attentive to your nails, cuticles and nail bed. I really want to stress gloves though because they are a safety article. Yes, they are clumsy sometimes; with practice it gets better. Take them off it you are pricking out seedlings but please wear gloves for everything else; your hands will thank you.
Arms, shoulders, neck and back, work in slowly. Build muscle. You think you have muscle? The garden will show you otherwise unless you are really over all fit. Learn to bend and lift properly no matter your age, ability or fitness level. Wear wrist braces if necessary (remember to fit your gloves with braces on or if wearing over gloves get a second set of braces because they are going to get dirty nasty). If you normally have back issues, wear your compression belt/lower back support. Learn to squat more. Work into it slowly and get stronger as you go. Older gardeners (even younger will benefit), a gentle stretch as you tour the garden to loosen up muscles – don’t just jump right into heavy work. Look, enjoy, plan, observe. If you find you are doing a lot of repetitive motion, give it a break and come back after a bit. No repetitive stress injuries, please.
Feet are another concern. You are on them all day; don’t take them for granite. Keep your feet warm and dry. Compression socks are a benefit to those with feet/ circulation issues. If the footwear is ill fitting, non-supportive and hurt your feet just walking around the house, imagine hard labour in them all day and just say no. I have the habit of wearing old running shoes past their prime which is ok up to a point … and here I have to listen to my feet or pay later. I do have a leather pair of hiking boots for when we are doing construction or heavy work where I need good ankle support, tread to ground contact and toe protection. Rubber boots for winter with wool inserts. Use what you can but know the limits. Learn to listen to your body. ! and I never ever recommend flip flops. I’m sorry, I have seen more accidents with people wearing those. The only good thing is that you can see the mangled foot/toes right off and see the blood quickly to make first aid assessments. Just Don’t Go There.
Sun protection is necessary. Sun burn and sun stroke are not your friend. Stay hydrated. Stay energized by taking breaks to eat healthy food (stay away from the sugar!). Sit down and rest while you eat. Relax. When you return, gentle stretching will put you in tune with how your body is reacting. Protective clothing is preferred over topical cremes. They offer shade. Long sleeve shirts, once you start to sweat actually start a cooling session as it evaporates under the clothes. I like loose fitting clothes for this reason and also if things fall in (debris) it is easy to shake it out without undressing. Less restriction means more free movement. But you don’t want voluminous covering that can get tangled, stepped on or caught on other objects. Ever see a woman squat down, step on her dress hem then try to stand? No need to be jerked to the ground by your clothing >:) In winter, a hat is still necessary. Winter sun can burn too depending on your skin, conditions, altitude. I like wool in the winter because it breathes, warm even when wet: jumper, socks and hat. If extra cold and I’m extra stubborn, silk long johns are friendly set that also breathes, light weight, non binding and warm.
If you are dizzy, don’t work through it. Sit and figure it out. Is it dehydration, blood sugar, blood pressure/ circulation, allergy, stress, or underlying medical condition (lymes, inner ear, parkinsons, cancer, anemia, thyroid, etc). Sometimes people are bending over a lot and don’t realize that their head is hung low and can get dizzy from that. If you have an underlying condition, just sit back and enjoy what you have accomplished. Taking care of the yourself, the gardener, is just if not more so, important. I like to sit, squat or if you have the knees, try kneeling. Get garden knee pad (or tiling/cement worker knee pads for heavy duty, cross purpose work) or a garden kneeler/ kneeling pad. You can also make your own kneeling pad as well if you are feeling crafty.
Working in the garden requires energy. Eat healthy foods. Stay away from processed foods, empty calories and sugar (this includes all corn syrups). Be aware that some foods like cheese while tasty, does contribute to inflammation. If you have food issues or are aware how different foods impact you, you don’t need the lecture, you live it. You want healthy foods that will fuel your work all day, not a quick fix. Drinking fluids to stay hydrated is a must. No sugar! Try slices of citrus in a mason jar of water. There are some old fashion recipes for haymaker’s / switchel (no alcohol while working in the garden; it dehydrates you! Save it for after) that are healthy and beneficial to a work out. Fruit juice is ok but realize that it is still sugar; maybe cut it with some mineral water to make a spritzer if you feel the need to drink fruit juice.
After garden care: I love a good Mg salt bath. The Epsom salts are great for the muscles plus you have the added benefit of osmoses of magnesium and relaxing down time to read those garden books (no kindles in the tub! get a book or magazine). After bath, I recommend a good self massage of oil. Simple grapeseed or apricot kernel are my go to. You can slip some EO (essential oils) in there as well. I don’t like petro products so I don’t recommend commercial lotions. If you have shea, coco or coconut butters/ oils or other natural product, that is preferable. You don’t want toxins in your garden, don’t put them in or on your body if you can help it. Make sure to do a good self massage to relax those muscles. Get a good night sleep and repeat working in the garden as soon as possible. You are doing more than gardening, you are also doing self care.
Attention Garden Loving Folk!! I need help!!
My house came with two gardens.
A generously sized overgrown front garden which has finally been mown and strimmed completely.
A good sized back garden with a forest of brambles that I’ve been slowly clipping back, very manually, with small garden cutters. However, a garden that was once very loved is starting to show.
Anyway, for now the front garden is to be kept neat with plenty of flowers around the edges for our friends, the bees. And the back garden is one heck of a project that will require de-brambling, digging up and a LOT of grass seed. But eventually I plan to have a vegetable patch (es) in the back.
What I have realised is that it’s incredibly labour intensive, and I don’t have the right tools for the job. I have realised I don’t know the first thing about getting the ground ready for planting crops, and it’s all seems to be so confusing!
I’ve started following gardening accounts on Instagram but I simply can’t find a “how to begin” sort of thing!
Essentially, I need some gardeners to come hoe down into DMs and talk me through what I need to do to get started. I’ll literally have my notebook and pen ready to take notes.
These past couple of weeks I have been getting
so much love from you guys!
Liking all of my things,
Re-blogging my posts,
I just wanted to thank you all!
My plants were getting munched pretty heavily by something in the garden, so I decided to mix up some multi-purpose bug spray to treat it.
Here’s the recipe:
2 cups tap water
2 tbsp white vinegar*
1 tsp. each of cayenne, ginger powder, & black pepper
1 tbsp. dishsoap or 1 tbsp. powdered laundry detergent
1 tsp. garlic or onion water
Filter out any lumps or chunks and spray on your plants soon after mixing. Apply once a week after watering. * Vinegar is an herbicide, and will desiccate plants in overly strong dilutions.
If any plants need serious treatment (>60% of leaves), put newspaper over the soil to catch dripping soap.
St Phocas, Russian patron saint of gardeners
What flower is this?
Cleaning up the lettuce beds in the nursery, freeing up the overwintered mache (aka corn salad) lettuce and sorrel, and planting steadfast spinach, arugula, and lettuce mixes from Turtle Tree Seed.