The Healthy (and Limber) Gardener

More and more people are literally fed up with industrial food, and taking matters into their own hands by growing their own food. They may do it on their own or as part of an urban farming collective.

But be aware — growing vegetables and fruit oneself is not a dainty exercise in plucking perfect beans and strawberries after an effortless season. If you are starting from scratch, you have to dig up a foot or more of soil that may be hard and clayey, then amend it (with organic compost, of course, and possibly other materials). Unless you order a truckload of the stuff and pay others to install it, you’ll be hauling forty-pound bags from driveway to garden plot. If your area is blessed with a multitude of gophers, you’ll also need to lay down hardware cloth (which is actually wire fencing with a very tight weave) and put the soil back down on top of it. Then there’s the small matter of creating a barrier to encourage deer in your neighborhood to dine elsewhere. Planting and weeding are less onerous, but you still might work up a sweat on warm days.

Not to mention a backache.

But that’s optional. At a class a few years ago, I learned from a young student of John Jeavons (author of How to Grow More Vegetables and a pioneer in biointensive farming to make small plots produce copious amounts of food) how to make smooth, stress-free movements WHILE gardening. Digging with a spade, for instance, can be done using balance and a rocking motion to minimize back strain.

But regular yoga can help if you do end up sore after a hard afternoon’s gardening. There are free yoga classes that can be found all over the Bay Area. For example, Lululemon Athletica in Walnut Creek offers a free yoga class in Civic Park every Sunday.

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