Thursday, April 14, 2011

Gardening is Good For You - April, 2011

"Gardening is good exercise.  Pushing a lawnmower or pulling weeds burns more calories per hour than taking a brisk walk.  Bending and stretching helps tone muscles, and any type of exercise you perform while on your feet helps build stronger bones.  Be especially careful when beginning your outdoor work for the season.  Overdoing it can lead to injury.  Be sure to stretch before and after gardening chores.  Ask for assistance when lifting heavy items, and take frequent breaks when doing strenuous activities."

Most of the information in this article, above and below, has been taken from the 2011 Garden Calendar published by the Iowa State University Extension Service.  The calendar is entitled "Gardening is Good For You" and includes monthly tips and information.

Timely advice for gardeners of edible produce includes, "Don't till the garden when the soil is wet," "Sow tomato seeds indoors for May planting (written on April 2, but you still have time to accomplish this goal)," April 7 states, "Sow seeds of peas, lettuce, spinach, carrot, and beets," on  April 15 we see, "Plant potatoes in well-drained, fertile soil," and sometime in late April, "Plant a different vegetable in the garden."

For gardeners of herbacious perennials and annual flowers, April 11 states, "Divide perennials as new growth begins to emerge," and "Share divisions with neighbors and friends," on April 17, "Plant pansies outside in beds or containers," and on April 29 (Arbor Day), "Plant a tree for Arbor Day."  Did you know a shade tree can cut home cooling costs by 10 per cent?

April is also given as a time to fertilize your houseplants; re-potting those needing larger containers. 

Please go outdoors and enjoy our Spring season.  We've been given the opportunity of enjoying several days of wonderful weather... and perhaps now, we'll be receiving some plant-loving rain.  Above all, be careful and safe.  Remember to lift with your legs --- and not your back!

Jefferson County Master Gardeners are involved in many local projects, activities, and endeavors.  If you are interested in becoming a Master Gardener, please contact Kim Keller, Jefferson County Extension Service, 472-4166.

This article submitted by Kathy Tollenaere, Master Gardener Intern,
on behalf of the Jefferson County Master Gardeners.
new website: