Safety Tips for Safe and Pleasant Gardening
By Diana Smith
Author bio: Diana Smith is a full time mom of two beautiful girls interested in topics related to home improvement and latest DIY projects. In her free time she enjoys exercising and preparing healthy meals for her family.
Gardening has always been popular, but it especially exploded during the pandemic when people had enough time and energy to turn their outside space into something really nice. However, this is also the time when injuries caused by gardening skyrocketed because many newbies took it up without knowing anything about gardening safety. If you want to continue your wonderful hobby yet stay safe and injury-free, here are a few gardening safety tips to remember:
Warm up and take it easy
Yes, gardening is very physical and can be just as demanding as a gym session, especially with all the bending, lifting and squatting. Before doing any physical activity for a prolonged time, make sure to stretch. Take a walk around your garden and do some leg, back and shoulder stretches for a few minutes. Also, make sure to take plenty of breaks while you garden. Continuous activities for a prolonged time (think digging, raking or pruning) can be very demanding on your muscles and bones, especially for the elderly and those with issues like arthritis, tendinitis and spine problems. Every 10 minutes or so, make sure to take a small rest on the chair you've previously prepared.
Kneeling instead of bending
If you have some back issues or suffer from arthritis, try to avoid bending your spine as much as you can. Bending puts a lot of strain on your back, which can be very uncomfortable. For the least amount of pain, try to do your gardening tasks by kneeling down. If that hurts your knees, invest in practical knee pads. People with arthritis should also grab those ratchet action pruners that require minimal effort on the hands.
Lift with your knees
Oftentimes, gardening requires some heavy lifting—moving bags of dirt and fertilizer, lifting pots, carrying buckets of water, etc. All of that lifting can be seriously damaging to your back and even cause a hernia. Whenever you need to lift something heavy, try to lift with your legs, keeping the weight close to your body. The best thing you can do for your back is to get a garden trolley, but in a pinch, a large cloth can be used for dragging the goods on the ground.
Wear protective gear
Like with any task or activity, it's crucial to wear the right protective gear to avoid injuries. When gardening, you'll need good workwear pants that will allow you to kneel comfortably, stretch, reach and bend without worry. You want your clothing to be durable and provide plenty of airflow and sun protection. Next, you need good gardening gloves because touching plants, thorns, roots and dirt with your bare hands can be dangerous. And finally, make sure to put on quality work boots with toe protection. You don't want to leave your toes vulnerable when you're handling heavy pots and swinging a hoe.
Use the proper tools
It's always crucial to have proper gardening tools available. Gardening with your hands or using improvised tools can be very dangerous for both you and your precious plants. For instance, always use a hand shovel or rake when digging or scooping. Your soil and lawn can be hiding some sharp objects that can penetrate the skin and cause injury. When tending to your plants, use sharp cutters and saws and employ them with caution. And if you need to use some power tools, make sure to pay special attention to how you handle them and where you leave them.
Use a face mask
When using any chemicals in your garden, take your time to read the label and gather all the essential information on handling. And of course, make sure to use a protective mask to keep your lungs safe (if you don't have a mask handy, a cloth around your face can serve you in a pinch). Lastly, store any fertilizer or pesticides away from kids and pets.
Drink plenty of water
Gardening requires you to use a lot of your physical strength and spend time outside in the sun, so staying hydrated is the key to your safety. For the best heat stroke protection, avoid working during the hottest part of the day and look for shade.
Know how to handle injury
No matter how careful you are, injuries happen regardless. It's crucial that you know how to handle injuries like cuts and scrapes: clean them with fresh water, put some antiseptic on them and use a band-aid to protect the wound. If you can't stop the bleeding, feel sharp pain, numbness or tingling in the area, can't clean the wound alone, or don't know if you've been immunized for tetanus, visit the emergency room just in case.
If you take it slow and approach it with caution and respect, gardening can be a great hobby suitable for all people, no matter their age, gender or fitness level. So stock up on safety gear and proper tools and start gardening today for amazing physical, mental and emotional benefits.