Gardening does not strike anyone as a particularly dangerous pastime. However there are a few tips and one critical point I’d like to share on the subject.
I have been a committed gardener ever since I got married 33 years ago. It has been a soul feeding pastime for me. Gardening has gone hand in hand with family time, from the hands on science education for our kids to our present day culinary pursuits.
I have gotten sunburns, rashes, cuts, scrapes, slivers and mosquito bites. I have gotten dirty and dehydrated. I have lifted too much. I have risked heat stroke and frostbite. Thank goodness I have not gotten any ticks. But these are the concerns at hand. If you check the CDC (Centers for disease control ,they cover the list of precautions that would have prevented all these ills, and I will recoup them dutifully here. But there are a couple surprises, and at the end, one BIG POINT.
- Your clothing and hat should protect against weather, insects, chemicals (even organic ones) sun and yes, dirt. Dirt is full of pathogens like various fungi, tetanus and toxoplasmosis. This is of special concern to those who are pregnant or have compromised immunity. Play in the dirt with gloves.
- Make sure your every ten year tetanus shot is up to date.
- Your skin should be protected by sunscreen or insect repellant as indicated.
- Your hands should be gloved no matter what. Did I mention the gloves ?
- Your eyes should be protected from flying debris and dirt. You are not pulling enough weeds if you do not have dirt flying toward your face.
- Have water with you and hydrate throughout the day. Dehydration happens faster than you think.
- Know the fertilizers and supplements you are dealing with. Read all labels and follow all directions.
- Know your equipment, and make sure it is in good working order. If you are using sharp objects or powered equipment, keep your attention on what you are doing and keep small children out of harm's way.
Here is the BIG POINT, and I will plead with you on this. Use organic methods. Please. The whole point of gardening is to get closer to nature and to produce something wholesome you can eat. Please do a little reading, and welcome yourself into the immensely gratifying world of organic gardening. If there is one thing that will save the world, it might be this.
I am not even going to begin to address all the safety concerns of gardening any other way, such as with conventional herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers. It would take too long and it would be depressing. So, get yourself one of the many excellent organic gardening resources, like maybe a book, the internet, or maybe your grandmother. It doesn’t matter if you do container gardening in the middle of a cityscape, or if you have a farm. Chose this life affirming hobby, and do it in a life affirming way.
Stay tuned next week for another Wellness Wednesday.