Lifestyle

Playing it safe in the garden

The 2013 gardening season is upon us. ‘Already?’ you might ask. Aside from planning, not too much garden-related activity goes on in January, but February brings a real wake-up call. It’s prime time for pruning various trees and shrubs, turning, liming and nourishing vegetable gardens, constructing raised beds, and bringing out overwintered bulbs/tubers/plants. Indoors, certain flower and vegetable seeds should be planted, under lights and with bottom heat, so they will be ready to go outside at the optimum time. As if this weren’t enough on the ‘to do’ list, February is also a good time to divide, repot and/or propagate many houseplants.

A few days ago, I took stock of the situation at my house: too many February tasks (including some pruning and clean-up that should have but didn’t get done in the fall) and too little time left in the month to do them all (or to provide ‘gentle guidance’ to he who does the heavy lifting and hardscape work). Fortunately, our climate is largely a forgiving one, meaning that failure to get everything done at the ideal time is unlikely to be catastrophic. Nonetheless, gardeners strive each year for improvement – a prettier flower, a more robust plant, a tastier vegetable, greater productivity – so doing things as close as possible to the ‘right time’ takes on a certain importance in the scheme of things.

With so many activities on our gardening plate right now, it’s essential that we approach them using common sense and being mindful of safety. Helping Sooke Garden Club members get off on the right foot/feet with these pre-spring activities will be Sooke chiropractor and gardening aficionado Dr. Grant Parker, featured speaker at this month’s regular meeting. Dr. Parker will offer some general gardening tips from an ergonomic perspective and talk about things we can to make gardening easier and more enjoyable. He will also demonstrate some stretching and strengthening exercises that are easy to do at home and will, he insists, help turn routine gardening tasks from a chore into a pleasure. He hopes attendees will follow along with him and try out some of these exercises at the meeting.

Dr. Parker brings both education and experience to this important topic. Before becoming a chiropractor, he earned a degree in landscape horticulture, worked for a few years in the nursery business in Ontario, and then briefly taught environmental science in high school. Although a recent arrival in Sooke, he has been living and practicing chiropractic medicine on the Island for more than 20 years. During this time he has lived in three different homes, gardening up a storm at each one.

Please join us Wednesday, Feb. 27, 7:30 p.m., at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church on Townsend Road. Also on the agenda: Gardeners’ Forum, parlour show, and seed exchange. New members are always welcome. Membership is $15 for the calendar year and can be purchased at the door. For more information, email: sookegardenclub@yahoo.ca or phone Rose at 250-642-5509.

Contributed by Loretta Fritz

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