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Time for Some Spring Training
February 24, 2020

Yet another challenging week.

Thinking the pneumonia had returned we head off the emergency room again.

On the plus side, this time it was in the afternoon.

What Yolanda has now is an upper respiratory virus.

No antibiotics for viruses, they have to run their course, or the body builds up an immunity.

We can only make things a bit comfortable by masking certain issues.

With Yolanda's compromised health, issues turn south in a big hurry.

She is on the mend.

What a blessing.

The past few days have been filled with sunshine.

The weekend was even in the 40's F.

There is a slight smell of spring and some birds are singing (I love it).

(Winter returns later this week.)

For now, there are star filled night skies.

In the early evening, Venus dominates the western sky.

The constellation Orion, owns the south sky, while the Big Dipper, standing on its handle is in the Northeast.

Beauty fills the night too.

With spring just around the corner, it is time to think 'Spring Training'.

Spring Training has become a bit of a tradition with me and this newsletter.

While many readers are wily veterans, Rookies and hopefuls are here as well.

Rookies and hopeful gardeners need coaching and practice more than veterans, but the smart veteran knows their is always more to learn to get better.

Whether it is more prep work and conditioning or willing to be coached.

Much is the same for Gardeners of any experience level, no matter your style of gardening.

Spring Training for Gardening starts now.


Spring Training:

I like using this metaphor for gardening this time of year.

Why not, it works.

"Spring Training." means Baseball can't be far off.

The Boys of Summer conditioning and preparing themselves for the long season ahead.

A six month season.

Seven if your team makes it to the play-offs and World Series.

For some of you, Gardening season may be just as long or longer.

For others, it may be a four, five or six month season.

High performance, professional athletes head to warm spots to loosen and train muscles for the long season ahead of them.

They visit the team trainer, whirlpools, messages, nothing but the best.

Spring training is a time for ball players to sharpen their skills.

This also holds true for you and me, but I don't think you have a trainer.

I know I don't.

The average guy or gal................

The weekend warrior, or in this case, the 'Hobby Gardener' or 'Nature Enthusiast'.

Yes, we need a spring training too.

You and I need to get into game day shape.

We need to stretch and strengthen our muscles.

We need to limber up, yet not over do it.

Especially the first few times out in your yard and garden.

You've been there haven't you?

You did to much and re-discovered muscles you forgot you had.

A strained or pulled muscle.

Sore joints.

Getting out of bed the next morning when your body is screaming at you.

I played a lot of sports when I was younger.

I thought I was in pretty good shape at the time, but after that first day of practice......

There were those muscles I forgot about.

We use our joints and muscles everyday, but when we use them in a different motion, movement or tension, that's all it takes to set you back a few days.

Especially repeating the motion over and over again.

I'm not getting any younger, so I must learn to slow down and learn to condition my body for the long season.

Now, as you and I get more youth challenged, it is more difficult to get into playing or in this case, gardening shape.

Take it easy and don't rush things.

Do things in moderation.

Work yourself into gardening shape.

Not many people can hit a ball over 400 feet or throw one 100 miles per hour.

Still, you have skills that need to be honed.

This is good advice, not only for you physically, but wise advice for your lawns and gardens as well.

Pay attention now.

Take inventory:

Is everything in working order or need of repair?

Is everything there?

Did you loan something out and didn't get it back?

Maybe get your lawn mower in tip top shape.

A dull blade will tear, not cut your grass.

Damaged grass blades are an invitation to fungus (air borne and all around us).

Torn grass blades take longer to heal over, a sharp blade makes a nice cut that heals over faster.

Don't forget to change filters, plugs, and oil.

If you have a push reel mower, make sure to lube all the working parts to make for easy pushing.

Here is another reason to go slow:

Lay off the plant food right out of the gate.

Don't be in such a big hurry to walk around and dig, especially if your soil is wet.

Damp soil compacts when we walk, and play in it.

There is all sorts of technical mumbo-jumbo I will not bore you with right now, just know to stay off.

Compact soil cannot hold oxygen that is needed for plant roots to breathe.

Compact soil results in shallow and poor root growth.

Root growth required to carry food, water, and yes oxygen.

Damp, Compact soil can also result in root rot and other problems.

What you need to do is wait for the soil to dry out some.

If you can take a handful of dirt, squeeze it and have it crumble in your hand, it is dry enough to work.

If your handful of dirt remains in a clump, put it back and walk away.

As your soil dries, you can shovel and fluff it up (lots of air pockets for oxygen and water).

Experienced gardeners will do this in the fall.

Another advantage living in Michigan............

Most winters the ground is frozen and I don't have to worry about that soil just yet.

I only have to work on the honey do list (painting and stuff for now).

Spring Training:

Be sure to start slow and take care of yourself and your habitats.

Limber up and stretch.

Be sure you have the proper gear and attitude.

Baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint.

Gardening is a long season as well.

Make sure you are there to enjoy the first pitch, or should I say flower, butterfly or hummingbird.

And make sure you are still going strong after the blooms have faded, the last fruit has been picked, the last Monarch has flitted by and your hummingbirds have left once again.

Spring training helps us physically and mentally to go the long haul.

Not to many things beat preparation, even when it comes to gardening.

One last reminder.......

"Gardening for Wildlife" is easier and less costly than conventional gardening. It is also much more enjoyable.

Well,, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

“No matter what a person's past may have been, his future is spotless.”

Author unknown

Do you want a spotless future?

“I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king.”

Daniel 2:23

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb.

A Blessed week to you .

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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