Break in boots not bones

Boots are essential in our work. For proof, compare the heel on Janet's old right boot to the new one (right). That chewed up heel is what took the hit as shovel met sole a thousand times or more. The boot has nicks on the sides, too, from each time the leather came between her foot and a bad cut from a wayward spade edge.

New boots are another matter. Literally, they can be a pain. Although we know we must make the transition, we never enjoy it. Right now, Janet's starting each day in her new boots but switching to the old at lunchtime. There's just no room in our schedule for blisters and cramps.

Below: Hard to believe the old boot ever looked like this new one. But it's the same model Red Wing boot Janet's been wearing for 30 years.


Body like a boot

Likewise, you need to stay well so you can enjoy the whole gardening season. So give your winter self a gradual breaking in. Before you resume gardening this spring, visualize what you'll be doing and find some comparable, milder activities you can do indoors as warm up.

Then, once you go out, don't overdo. Switch feet, handhold, position every fifteen minutes. We've been doing it for 30 years but it still takes a conscious effort.

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Above, left to right: Wear gardening kneepads and crawl while cleaning the floor or sorting the contents of low shelves. That can help prepare your body for that circulation-imperiling speed-weeding posture, demonstrated here by Gordon Findlay. Shelley Welch enjoys the challenge of hose wrestling but perhaps some windmills for the arms and yoga for balance is in order as warm up. Deb Tosch shows great form in the precision wheelbarrowing event. Pushing furniture around can be good prep for this.

Below, left: Karen Thompson and Phil Gigliotti team up in the wheelbarrow lift. This is the first spring in a while we don't think we need deliberate warm up for this action, because spent so much of the winter lifting snow to the top of high banks.
Below, right: Marilyn Alimpich and Jenny VanDusen practice the sod toss, easily emulated indoors with wet laundry pitched toward a basket or open dryer.

Thanks to our fellow Detroit Zoo Adopt-a-Garden volunteers for modeling these essential garden postures.

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