Are You Staying In Shape for Spring?

The following is a public service announcement for all gardeners. Out of love and concern for all, I am repeating a post from a year ago. This is important information and some new readers may not have read it a year ago today.

Heed my warnings, pay attention to this post! Nothing less than your ability to garden in the spring is at stake here!


The problem for many gardeners, especially those of us who live where winter is winter, is an increase in GRTH symptoms at this time of year. Pronounced like “girth”, Gardeners Reduced Time with Horticulture (GRTH) is a malady whose primary symptom is ironically, an increase in the gardener’s weight.

For several months now, we northern gardeners have not been pushing lawn mowers, dragging hoses around, hoeing the gardens, raking leaves, or digging holes. At best, we may have shoveled snow a few times, but even that we’ve tried to make a more sedentary activity by using snow blowers or having the neighborhood kids do it.

Our primary winter-time gardening activities are studying seed catalogs, reading gardening books, browsing through countless back issues of garden-related magazines and posting on our garden blogs. These “activities” are really “sedentaries” and leave us sitting around quite a bit.

Thus we suffer from an increase in GRTH.

We have to be careful or we will wake up on the first wonderful spring morning, ready to just be gardeners for a day and realize that the symptoms of GRTH are preventing us from being the gardeners we want to be.

Until that first day of spring, some gardeners may refuse to believe that they are suffering from a huge case of GRTH. But on that first spring day, even they won’t be able to deny their GRTH symptoms because their favorite pants for gardening won’t fit.

We know there are ways to avoid a big fat GRTH attack, even cure it once you have it. And the way to avoid it and cure it are the same.

We need to exercise and watch what we eat.

That’s right, we sedentary northern gardeners need to get up off our couches and make sure we are exercising through the winter and eating right. We have to keep ourselves from getting GRTH by walking on treadmills, riding stationary bikes, lifting, bending… exercising.

Then when spring comes, we’ll be ready to go, all dressed up again in our favorite gardening pants.


There is still time. Winter is still going strong. It’s not spring yet. Get on your treadmill, exercise, be ready!


There is also still time to enter to win some seeds! Leave a comment before Thursday, January 29th, 5:00 pm on the seed post from a few days ago to enter.


This is so true and terribly funny! Perfect timing!!
Guess I shouldn't go have that bowl of chocolate ice cream I was thinking about.
Great post!
Gardeness said…
And the fresh-baked cookies I ate. I couldn't just leave them. I promise to rake leaves tomorrow! Delightful post Carol!
Unknown said…
You should direct this at the Southern Gardeners as well. We may be doing a little something around the yard, it is nothing compared to what's coming. I am sore now from moving sod. Great post.
Oh Carol what a good reminder. I love the quote"where winter is winter"! Well in our winter that's not winter, we have the same problem a short time at weekends when its not wet or dark doesn't prepare us for the spring either. I am just looking forward to being able to see the garden in the evening, even better would be to have enough daylight to get out and garden. I'm dreaming of spring.

Best wishes Sylvia (England)
Oh Carol, I think this is a timely post since I am "sitting" here reading my list of blogs and thinking about "eating" something. My elbows and fingers are the only things getting exercise.
This wasn't a problem for me last year and it hadn't been a problem until the past week. What's my secret? My personal trainer is a snow shovel.
Anonymous said…
Hey, I'm treadmilling and I joined Weight Watchers. I'm tired of my tummy in front.~~Dee
I'm about to grab my "personal trainer" as MMD calls it - the snow shovel and head out to shovel three more inches on top of the 12-14 we already have, Carol.
Nickie said…
No Grth for me this winter :)

there is plenty of snow for fun things like snowshoeing!!! :)
Oh boy, I had to laugh as I just spent the last two hours looking at flowering trees and fruit trees on the internet, day dreaming about the first days of spring.-Lee
Anonymous said…
We in the mid south normally can keep active during the winter months, but not this year with the wet and cold we are having. The subject of grth has not been brought up by The Financier, who uses an exercise machine faithfully. But it should. The imprint of my backside is nearly permanent now in the lazyboy and I won't be ready for the gardening pants, even with the elastic waist! Thanks for the reminder to get moving!
ROFL...ohhh I have that! I must go and walk on my treadmill, thanks for the timely reminider!!! Great, great post, Kim
VP said…
Oh dear, I just had a piece of cake before I got to this post. All is lost, especially when your husband brings you the cake whilst you're blogging!
Cindy, MCOK said…
Down here in south central Texas, GRTH occurs in July and August, often lasting into September. This time of year you'll find me outside doing battle with oxalis, as I was yesterday, or planting tulips, as I hope to do tomorrow. It's chilly and windy today, so I'm catching up on other chores.
Or we could be outside shoveling snow off our driveways. . .
KayGee said…
I'm training for the mini in May...that should keep the GRTH at bay!
Jan said…
A good reminder and hopefully, motivator, for most of us. Me, especially. I knew I've been forgetting to do something, I just couldn't remember what it was until I read your post. Thanks-I think.
Debbie said…
Is this ever true! Good topic.

Big problem at our house — even with all the shoveling we've done this winter. Every time a storm is predicted, I bake and cook and you can imagine the results. We've spent January trying to get ourselves back on the treadmill. Glad to know we're not alone — and that there is even a name for it!
Anonymous said…
LOL. I feel like you're talking to me personally.
Gail said…

Another great post and of so we all read this sitting down! gail
Rock rose said…
Here is some news for you. This malady also affects southern gardeners. We may not get snow but somehow the shorter days and temperatures swinging from freezing to 80 degrees are not conducive to a lot of activity in the garden. We are afraid to prune because tomorrow may be a warm day and the plants will start growing, then the next day it will freeze and the new growth will die. We put in new plants and get no rain to settle them in. Suddenly the fall/winter is no longer a good time to plant in Texas. Then we, like everyone else, spend far too much time reading blogs sitting on our bottoms.
Anonymous said…
That is an excellent reminder of the pain that will ensue when I try to push the wheelbarrow full of compost after a winter of hibernation. I will try to take this advice but I think I'll nap first.
Amanda said…
I think of the extra few winter pounds I'm carrying as much-needed insulation against the cold. Although I am looking forward to getting rid of them as soon as the weather gets warm enough to be out there digging...
Pat said…
So that's my problem !!
Our temps aren't as cold as yours but lots of rain(which is a good thing)and very cold and unpleasant.
You're right...this body is getting stiff !