Friday, June 15, 2012

Plant & Rake without the Ache

It's rather embarrassing but I'm absolutely giddy in anticipation of a delivery of garden soil that is scheduled to arrive today.  Now you probably have to be somewhat of a gardener, or perhaps a full-fledged dreamer, to fully appreciate the potential that lurks within a pile of good earth.  Seeing that I'm both, just thinking of all the beauty that this foundation will support makes me happy.

My husband, on the other hand, regards it as "just more dirt".  After all, don't we already have a yard full of the stuff?  He's anticipating the time & energy that will have to be expended as we haul from point A to point B.  Then there's all the bending, twisting, pulling & prodding that goes into getting everything arranged just right. Hmmm ... perhaps he does have a bit of a point since all of these activities are actually much more physically demanding than the dreaming & planning that has launched us on this adventure.

In fact, according to a recent survey, 88% of Ontario chiropractors said gardening is among most common causes of back and neck pain during the warm weather season. No wonder part of my planning included stocking up on Advil and placing my chiropractor's phone number on speed dial!

Fortunately (in a case of perfect timing for which I truly thank the gardening gods) before the soil arrived I stumbled across the Ontario Chiropractic Association's Plant and Rake Without the Ache public education program which is chock full of good advice.

OCA's sensible tips include:

Warm up & stretch before you start

Stretch frequently throughout the time in the garden

Bend your knees to lift with ease

Use the right moves

Use the right tools

Alternate your tasks between heavy & light

Take frequent breaks, a brief rest or stretch 3 times per hour

I've printed off the posters & the brochure that are part of their education package and I'm determined to follow through with this advice, hopefully saving myself the pain that unbridled enthusiasm in the garden can bring. 

That bottle of Advil is just going to have to wait for another day!

Plant & Rake without the Ache by  on 2012-06-15 I'm determined to follow through with this advice, hopefully saving myself the pain that unbridled enthusiasm in the garden can bring.

Images: Fotolia via Ottawa Citizen The A-Z of gardeningOntario Chiropractic Association's Plant and Rake Without the Ache

Find Tatiana Dokuchic on Google+


  1. I have never thought about doing this before, but I don't know why - my back is always killing me after working in the garden! Thanks!

    1. I was the same way, Katie. Sore back after every gardening session. It's funny how we're committed to warming up & cooling down when we exercise but don't apply it to gardening.

      Now I'm really making an effort to be mindful of my gardening moves and taking a break every 20 minutes or so just for a quick stretch. It really does make a difference!

    2. I solved all of my ache and pain issues by covering all of the dirt with weed control fabric then cedar chips. I plant only in pots and use a large solar feature. This means the use if a watering can once a week or so, No weeds nothing!
      P.S. Did I mention that I really detest gardening? It all happened the year I bravely planted my acre of veggies and flowers with fingers crossed, I waited with baited breath for the tiny green shoots etc. In the mean time, I had given our son, who was three at the time, all the rest of my seeds. He promptly threw them all over the patch he had been assigned, rode over them with his tricycle, and ended up with a much better yield than I with all of my weeding and watering. I immediately handed in my resignation to the God of Gardens and now do minimal container gardening. :)

    3. Hi, Verlie!

      I can just picture an energetic three-year-old running over those seeds and being rewarded with a bumper crop. Too funny! He probably killed all the weeds on his plot in the process :))

      I like container gardening too. Used to have wonderful beef-steak tomatoes growing in big pots until the squirrels decided that it was a great idea to take a little bite out of every single one of them. I'm just not prepared to go to war with the varmints probably because I know I'd lose. Fortunately they tend to leave the flowers, herbs & cucumbers alone so I stick to those.

      As for the weeds, we've come to a bit of a détent. Have you ever seen Tudor Monastery Farm? They let the weeds grow right along side the vegetables. Kind of liking that idea.

      I'm interested in your use of a "large solar feature" as I could do without watering once a day. How does that work?

  2. I need to help my dad with his small garden in a few weeks- I will definitely stretch and take some breaks!

    1. Sounds like a plan, Casey. Good luck with your dad's garden!

  3. I love the planting part but I never look forward to that big pile of dirt on the driveway!!! Taking lots of breaks sounds like my kind of strategy ;)

    1. Yep, the pile of dirt in the driveway can really be daunting!

      I love the break part too, Andrea :) I just have to remember to space them out as I tend to forget once I get rolling.

  4. I find gardening overwhelming, it's because I can't tell a weed from a flower... now if I would have planted my own garden (we just moved here in August 2013) I am sure I'd have some idea what was what. So I'm starting completely over. I'm ripping everything out and starting from scratch, I'm simplifying. While I do that, these tips sound perfect, thanks for sharing!

    1. Simplifying sounds like an excellent idea, Laurie.

      I have to let things grow a bit before I can tell the difference (weed or flower) myself. I've also been know to let some weeds grow just because. I really shouldn't have done that with this huge thistle that I thought too majestic to remove. It's been years and I'm still pulling out its offspring! Live & learn :)

      Good luck with your own garden overhaul, Sounds like quite a project.

  5. Pain free gardening...get a gardener...maybe two ;)

    1. Good point, Skye! Except for the pain in my pocketbook ;)