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Rise Up, All Gardeners!

By LarryR
March 8, 2012

We all know that gardening is good for the body and soul. But there is something the great majority of us don’t know. And what we don’t know can hurt us.

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Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
Mar 7, 2012 6:36 PM CST
Larry, Thank you for this timely and informative article!

Although I love puttering in the garden, I'm not in the greatest of shape because for the past 20 years I've been using a riding mower which doesn't offer much exercise at all. So, I recently began a walking program. I log one to two miles each morning at @ 7 o'clock. Early morning is my favorite time of day and it's not so hot and humid at that hour so I get my 30 - 40 minutes in before the heat of the day sets in! So far I've only been walking around my neighborhood, which is a very pleasant walk but I'm fortunate to be only a couple of miles from the beach so I plan on changing up my routine every so often and driving over to the beach to walk on the sand once in awhile!

If I lived where temperatures were freezing, I'm afraid I'd have to buy a treadmill! Smiling

~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Brenda
Dolores, Colorado
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bsavage
Mar 7, 2012 10:04 PM CST
Larry, thank you for your motivational article! You are so right. (Not that I'm out there every morning like Lin), but we do a lot of dog walking here, and I run my butt off at work. I need to do a bit more!
Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
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LindaTX8
Mar 7, 2012 10:39 PM CST
I really wish I could do much walking around here. But walking is pretty much limited to my own little place. I live in a fairly rural area. Streets are narrow, two cars can barely pass each other and only some parts of the streets have enough room by the side of the road for pedestrians. Then there's dogs...what can I say? There's not even a small park within 10 miles.
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
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Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
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SongofJoy
Mar 8, 2012 4:39 AM CST
I started fitness walking over 30 years ago out in CA, and I agree that it's the best exercise (at least for me). My neighbor and I were walking 5 miles most mornings on the gorgeous new Greenway here before she injured her leg. Unfortunately, this past year we haven't been able to do that for a couple of reasons and do I ever miss it. Even with the gardening I do, I like and need more walking. And especially during the months we can't garden here.

We'll see what this year brings. Confused

It's a good reminder to all of us.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Vicki
North Carolina
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vic
Mar 8, 2012 5:48 AM CST
GREAT article and info Larry!

We have a dog and dog sit our grand dog during the week so we walk every morning.

We hike up our little mountain. Like Lin, I'm an early morning person but in the winter, we walk much later. In the summer, we're walking just before the sun comes up. Hurray! Hurray!
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
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wildflowers
Mar 8, 2012 6:17 AM CST
Walking really does make a difference! Enjoyable read and a good reminder!

Thank you, Larry! Smiling
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: Marcia Rutherford
New Madison, Ohio
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Marcy
Mar 8, 2012 10:10 AM CST
My doctor just told me yesterday to get up and exercise more! I used to walk on my treadmill for two miles ..5 days a week. Somehow got out of the habit...and I really need to get back to it. I walk with a cane, so its pretty hard for me to walk any distance outside....but holding on to something..I can do it.
Ok...you have convinced me!!
Marcy
Name: Vicki
North Carolina
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vic
Mar 8, 2012 11:16 AM CST
Good for you Marcy Thumbs up
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
Mar 8, 2012 12:31 PM CST
Thumbs up Way to go Marcy!!
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
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wildflowers
Mar 8, 2012 2:51 PM CST
I'm rootin' for you too, Marcy ~ good for you!! Hurray! Hurray! Thumbs up
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

[Last edited by wildflowers - Mar 9, 2012 9:47 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #224497 (10)
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
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LarryR
Mar 8, 2012 10:55 PM CST
Thank you all for your positive comments. Glad to know so many of you do walk. Kudos to you, Marcy, for your perseverance! Twenty-two years ago I was in a wheel chair, and my doctors told me I would never dance again. I could barely walk. I had started a running program several weeks before I was waylaid by some unknown substance, bug, or even my own body. I was devastated, knowing that I could no longer walk or run for exercise. To make a long story short, it was my family physician--after months of tests, two weeks at Mayo, and who knows how many different medications--who came up with a medication that gave me back my life. Today I can enjoy four daily walks with our two dogs. I can no longer run, so I was very grateful to discover the great benefits of just plain walking!

Thumb of 2012-03-09/LarryR/f417e6
Our two dogs, Laila and Saphira
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Name: Brenda
Dolores, Colorado
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bsavage
Mar 9, 2012 12:46 AM CST
Go Marcy! You can do it!
Name: Mary
My little patch of paradise (Zone 7b)
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fiwit
Mar 9, 2012 7:03 AM CST
Stretching is another thing gardeners should do (and I don't).
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Name: Dollybelle
Edmond, OK (Zone 7a)
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Dollybelle
Mar 9, 2012 2:04 PM CST
Larry, I'm so glad you recovered your walking ability! I had a question about your description that you garden organically and no til. Could you explain the no til. I think I understand it but not sure. I'd also love to see a picture of your Meyer Lemon tree. I live in windy Oklahoma so I use my elliptical pretty faithfully. I would love to have room in my atrium for a treadmill again. None of those machines can take the place of walking though. I still need to walk the neighborhood when we are getting ready for spring and garden tours. Thanks for reminding us all to get out there some how and "Just Do It"!
Dollybelle
Name: Chris
Ripon, Wisconsin
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goldfinch4
Mar 10, 2012 10:55 AM CST
Great article Larry. I also am so glad you're able to walk again. Due to a back injury many, many years ago I can't run anymore either, but walking is good! Thumbs up
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Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
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flaflwrgrl
Mar 10, 2012 2:34 PM CST
Thank you Larry for the reminder & the nudge. Big Grin I have always loved to walk & just this past 6-8 months with our lives topsy turvy from moving & planning to build & getting our old house ready to go on the market, I kind of fell out of the habit of my daily walk. I vow to get back to it forthwith.
I'm so happy you recovered & can walk again. And Marcy ~~~ go get 'em!
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Tip Photographer I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cottage Gardener Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Composter
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LarryR
Mar 10, 2012 4:10 PM CST
Thanks so much for your comments, Mary, Dollybelle, and Chris.

Dollybelle, thanks for your interest in no-till gardening. We raise all our own vegetables organically, in a large garden plot. Two things originally attracted my wife and me to the concept of no-till. One, obviously, is not having to spend the time and energy tilling our sizable garden. The other is that we could simply walk out to the garden and start planting. No other prep work and no raking.

Before we started (about 20 years ago), we researched the concept and liked what we found:

• Untilled soil has a complex network of fungal fibers called "mycorrhizae." They connect to the roots of vegetables and provide a higher absorptive capacity for water and mineral nutrients. Tilling the soil destroys this network. Obviously, folks have been tilling the soil for millennia, so breaking up the fiber network is not directly harmful to plants. But leaving the network intact makes plants more resilient. They have a survival advantage when stressed by insects, disease, or drought.

• The natural cohesion of soil particles is disturbed, making erosion more likely.

• Some soil nutrients are also lost due to cultivation. That means they must be replaced by chemical fertilizers, which all too often end up in our groundwater, rivers, and streams. One of the consequences of this runoff is eutrophication (the presence of excessive nutrients which can threaten the habitats of aquatic animals and wild life by depleting oxygen in the water).

We have been amazed at the vigor of some of our vegetables, especially tomatoes. Last year we had an ordinary tomato plant (Better Boy), bought at an Earl May Nursery, that produced over 100 tomatoes!

You may be wondering what we do when we need to plant seeds instead of plants. We lay out a row of compost and sow directly into it. All the nutrients are there to give the seedlings a healthy, vigorous start in life. We have never had to buy "innoculants" in order to get a good pea harvest. When we plant plants, we dig the hole a bit deeper than one normally would and backfill with compost.

No-till works with all but those soils that have major amounts of clay in them. To employ no-till under those circumstances, one would have to amend the soil heavily with coarse sand and coarse organic matter. The worst mistake in amending such soil is to do it with sand only. You will end up with something akin to concrete.

Hope this helps. If you have questions, please ask.
Gardener was the label imprinted on me when the souls were handed out and so be it. --Margaret Roach (Thank you, Sharon!) Notes from the Garden: Articles of interest on all aspects of gardening
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Tip Photographer I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cottage Gardener Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Composter
Foliage Fan Garden Photography Houseplants Hybridizer Organic Gardener Cat Lover
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LarryR
Mar 10, 2012 4:13 PM CST
Hi Ann! Thanks for your comments.
Gardener was the label imprinted on me when the souls were handed out and so be it. --Margaret Roach (Thank you, Sharon!) Notes from the Garden: Articles of interest on all aspects of gardening
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Tip Photographer I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cottage Gardener Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Composter
Foliage Fan Garden Photography Houseplants Hybridizer Organic Gardener Cat Lover
Image
LarryR
Mar 10, 2012 5:05 PM CST
Sorry, Dollybelle, I forgot about the lemon tree photo. Here you go:



Thumb of 2012-03-10/LarryR/574ad3

Thumb of 2012-03-10/LarryR/273355


Gardener was the label imprinted on me when the souls were handed out and so be it. --Margaret Roach (Thank you, Sharon!) Notes from the Garden: Articles of interest on all aspects of gardening
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
Name: Marcia Rutherford
New Madison, Ohio
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Garden Art Ferns Echinacea Butterflies
Container Gardener Birds Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Cat Lover Region: Ohio Roses
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Marcy
Mar 11, 2012 8:27 AM CST
Thanks for all the encouragement everyone!
Now that the weather is breaking here, getting out in the gardens will help a lot too.
Hurray!
Marcy

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