Your Safety in the Garden
I spend a lot of time outdoors. As gardeners, I’m going to assume you do as well. And while there is no workplace task force to overlook the safety of backyard gardeners, there is me. I am here to help.
This is a given when you’re heading to the beach or planning a day at the water park with the kids. You slap the sunscreen on everyone before they leave for the day and reapply after any water activity. But do you think about it when you’re heading out to do a bit of gardening? I realized a long time ago that my planned 15 minutes in the garden quickly turned into an hour as I tend to get carried away.
No matter if you’re going out for 5 minutes or 5 hours, put on the sunscreen and wear a hat and sunglasses.
The digging tools we buy from retail stores in Canada are dull. It comes down to safety at the store and forces you to either learn how to sharpen tools or make friends with someone who can. It’s not only a good idea to give your tools a good sharpening when you get them home, you should be resharpening frequently throughout the season.
Dull tools slip easily and can lead to injuries and dangerous situations. Sharp tools cut where you want them to, within obvious reason. Not to mention how much less effort you’ll have to put in. I suggest a bastard file for digging tools and the all purpose sharpener for cutting tools.
Sometimes plants show up in our yards that we didn’t plant. You can thank birds and squirrels for that. Unfortunately, not all of these plants are the kind we want to keep around: we either don’t like them or they are dangerous.
Before removing any plant you are unsure of, identify it. If you’ve got something like poison sumac or giant hogweed, call a professional. Your backyard may be a mess during removal but you will be thankful for it once it’s gone.
Keep pressure off your joints, neck, and back by rotating the jobs you do and doing them smartly:
– Use a hoe instead of picking weeds by hand
– If you’re doing a lot of bending, a rolling seat is very handy
– Try the Mark’s Choice pivoting wheelbarrow handles to take pressure off the wrists when using a wheelbarrow and
– If you have to do a lot of crouching, invest in a great pair of knee pads
Gardening is a great activity: it gets us out of the house for some much needed exercise and vitamin D. Be safe to get the jobs done and keep them fun.