Gardening Safety

Gardening Safety

By Michael Jenkins

Spring is here and it’s time to start putting in this year’s garden! It’s an exciting, busy time—there’s always something to do in the spring garden. Whether you have a large yard filled with beds and landscaping or a small patio/windowsill garden, you may feel like there’s almost too much to do at this time of the year! While you’re busy preparing your soil, transplanting seedlings, and trimming bushes and trees, let’s not forget about garden safety. While gardening is a relatively safe activity for most gardeners, there are some potential problems that can arise and should be avoided. So let’s dig in and learn a bit more about gardening safety and how we can all stay safe in the garden this year!

The first step in ensuring that you stay safe while gardening this year is to inspect your space and your equipment.  Before starting garden work, take a moment and make sure that you’re feeling well, that you’ve stretched out and warmed up as needed, and that all potential obstacles and hazards have been removed from you gardening space. Likewise, take some time to inspect your tools—they’re likely in fine shape after a long winter tucked away in the shed, but if handles have come loose or blades need to be sharpened, take care of that before work begins. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so whether you’ve got a few small containers on a kitchen counter or an expansive set of raised beds that need weeding, inspect the situation first!

One of the most important things you can do for garden safety is to take care of yourself. While we think about gardening as plant care, we’re also making our own lives better and that includes keeping ourselves safe and healthy while gardening. So towards that end, follow some basic personal safety guidelines when working your garden. Wear protective gear like gloves, safety glasses, a kneeling pad, and a sun hat to make sure that you’re protected from both the work and the elements. Stay hydrated—you’ll be doing outdoor work in most gardens, so make sure you drink enough water. Wear sturdy work boots or shoes, especially if you’ll be working with sharp tools or motorized tools—dropping something sharp or heavy onto your toes can be painful and dangerous!

Speaking of injuries; while we hope your gardening time is always safe and happy, it’s wise to have a good first aid kit handy just in case. You have many options when putting together a first aid kit. There are many pre-made kits on the market, or you can put together your own component by component. Regardless, make sure your first aid kit has everything you need for gardening safety; the Red Cross has a good list of must-have first aid supplies here. We might suggest adding any needed emergency medications—folks with epipens or rescue inhalers should have those things accessible while gardening! We might also suggest that everyone take a good  first aid course, including CPR. These are helpful skills to have both in and out of the garden and knowing how to help in an emergency makes everyone around you safer.

Our final tip for gardening safety is a bit more personal: go slow and let yourself rest as needed. Gardening is always  a marathon, not a sprint! Overworking yourself and pushing too hard puts you at greater risk for heat exhaustion, injury, or just muscle aches and pains. Take your time and do what you can do each day. Garden work may seem endless, and in some ways it is, but this is meant to be rewarding not exhausting!

Those are some basic gardening safety tips, and we hope you find them useful as gardening season begins. Our list of guidelines for garden safety isn’t definitive, so if you can see anything we missed or have a story to share, please get in touch and let us know!

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