Hello lovely gardeners
Today I am off to do a first aid course and it got me thinking about how the garden can sometimes be a dangerous place. So, today’s top tips are how to stay safe in the garden. You probably already know most of this stuff, but it is always good to be reminded. Safety first, a lot of accidents can happen in the garden.
· Don’t leave tools and hoses lying around as they can be a major tripping hazard and it is also best for the condition of the tools to be stored away after use.
· Sometimes toxic weeds pop up in the garden. Make sure you can recognise them and remove them as soon as you see them – especially from the veggie patch, so they aren’t accidently eaten.
· As the weather warms up the wasps will be coming out of hibernation. They shelter in the most unlikely places so check first when reaching into nooks and crannies to avoid a nasty sting. Keep an eye out for wasp nests and take care of them while they are small. Although they aren’t all bad, they have a stage in their life cycle when they can’t get enough caterpillars to eat!
· When using products of any kind always follow the directions on all labels, particularly when it calls for a mask, gloves, goggles, and recommends you wash your hands after handling. If you are making your own recipes, do some research around the safety of the ingredients. Just because it is in your pantry doesn’t mean it is completely safe to use in the garden - especially if you are using it to try and kill something like a weed, pest, or disease.
· Popping a ping pong ball over the end of bamboo stakes can reduce the risk of being poked in the eye.
· Keep an eye on the weather forecast. If it is going to be windy make sure any loose items that could become projectiles in strong winds are stored away securely. And check on your structures to make sure they remain strong and sturdy and make repairs if needed. Check particularly around the base of anything buried in the ground as this can be a weak point for rust and rot. And for safety’s sake, wait until the bad weather is over before trying to make repairs. Besides, you can do more harm than good trying to protect plants in the middle of a storm.
· Sharp tools are more efficient for most garden tasks like digging, hoeing, and pruning but take care when using sharp tools to avoid cutting yourself. Keep your tetanus booster up to date as often cuts in the garden can be caused by dirty or rusty things.
· Take extra care using power tools to avoid an injury. Make sure you use all the appropriate safety equipment.
· If you need a ladder, remember to be sensible – even if it is just a quick job. Make sure it is on even ground and get someone to hold the bottom while you are at the top.
· Know where all your underground services are. Digging up a pipe is annoying but digging up an electrical cable is dangerous.
· If a job is big, complicated, or completely out of your skill set, consider getting in the experts.
· If you are using potting mixes or composts in a confined space, it is a good idea to wear a mask to avoid inhaling particles that could infect you with Legionnaire’s disease. Best practice is to work in a well-ventilated place and make sure the potting mix is damp to reduce dusty particles. Always wash your hands afterwards.
· Gardening can be hard work at times so a few stretching exercises before starting wouldn’t go amiss. Or break up tasks that require a lot of effort and do something easier for a bit and take plenty of rests. Nothing is so urgent in the garden that it needs to be done in one day.
· It may still be a little cold now, but the midday sun is starting to have a bit of heat behind it so get into the habit of before you start, make sure you use sunscreen and have a good sunhat at the ready. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to the gap on your back between the top of your pants and the bottom of your shirt as this can be come exposed to the sun a lot with all of the bending over gardeners do. Drink plenty of water.
· As the harvest comes in and you want to preserve your crops for the winter months make sure you pay close attention to the instructions because you wouldn’t want to waste your efforts and food safety is so important when preserving your harvest.
For more safety advice check out: https://www.yates.co.nz/problem-solver/other/safety-in-the-garden/
In my garden I will be continuing the seemingly never ending task for bed preparation. I’m almost there though – only a few to go. And I suspect more plants will be ready for transplanting out of their seed raising mix very soon.
Happy gardening and as always – if you want to get in touch leave a comment below.
Sarah the Gardener : o)