Being Safe in the Garden

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Whilst gardening, there is a genuine need to be mindful of your own personal safety. At this moment in time, I am not talking about drastic injuries, but rather, some of the lesser annoyances that you may not have previously considered, if you are new to this mucking around in the garden thing.

Regardless of what it is that you are doing in the garden, or whether you are new at this or a seasoned hand, it’s always a good idea to be prepared for any of those little surprises that may come upon you when you least expect. No matter if you are cutting flowers, digging a new vegetable plot, or excavating the entire backyard  for your new landscape dream, you will encounter many common safety issues. Whatever the case, keep the following tips in mind when you begin any type of gardening project:

Heat.
To avoid any excessive heat when you are gardening, if possible, try gardening either early in the morning or late in the evening. Do be aware, that the hottest part of the day is between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm, so if possible, plan your gardening day accordingly. Although it may not seem like it, gardening can be a heck of a work-out and your fluid levels can become dangerously low. Knowing this, you should always keep a bottle of water handy whilst gardening, so you can remain adequately hydrated.

The afternoon hours are when the sun has the greatest strength, which can lead to heat exhaustion or other heat-related illness, if you have a tendency to over-do things. By choosing the coolest times of day and taking in plenty of fluids, you will be better equipped to actually complete your gardening project, without any health related surprises. AND – wear a hat!

Protection:
Sunburn is a also a consideration, to protect yourself from sun damage, wear lightweight long sleeved shirts and long pants. Wearing long sleeved clothes will also prevent mosquito and sand-fly bites. Keep  sunscreen handy and make sure to apply it to all areas that will be exposed during your gardening day. Don’t forget to cover the back of your neck and the tops of your ears. Also, be mindful to re-apply the sunscreen, if the day turns into an extended session in the garden. If you are like me and have an enormous nose, that not many hats can adequately protect, give that a going over with sun-screen, too. AND – wear a hat, anyway!

If the project at hand has you working with large expanses of bare earth, for extended periods of time, do not disregard the fact that reflected heat from the ground, can really knock you around before you know it. Keep the fluids up!
AND – wear a hat!

You will also want to consider wearing gardening gloves to protect your hands, always being mindful of what you are reaching into, especially if you find yourself reaching into grassy areas or darkened nooks. These areas may include tall weeds along the fence-line or similar, shrubbery or overgrown areas of your yard or garden, which could be a hiding place for snakes, spiders or other potential biting and stinging critters. Few things in life can compare to the dread that comes over you, when you realise, that the clump of weeds or leaves you have just gathered up, comes complete with it’s very own host of enraged bull-ants, or nest of wasps.

Ultimately, deciding whether or not to undertake a gardening project, will largely depend on the type of project, your knowledge or skill, and your overall health. If you are doing simple stuff, like planting flowers or vegetable seeds, you shouldn’t have any problems, as these are not time consuming, nor particularly arduous tasks. However, if the job you have set yourself involves extensive landscaping work, such as digging a pond or a complete redesign of the backyard, you may want to consider hiring a professional landscape contractor, who can complete the work without causing you any inconvenience.

Whatever your decision, it is better being safe in the garden, than sorry.

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