As we approach the harvest and the fall, now is the time to reap the rewards of all of our hard work, which we invested throughout the growing year. Although the general maintenance is ongoing, we should at this time, see the fruits of our labor. As we all know at this stage that gardening can be a great way of getting some exercise and fresh air and is also a great way of relaxing and taking in the occasion or moment, whatever that may be. However in the course of our gardening tasks and exercises, it’s very easy to forget where we are and it’s rather easy to become complacent on health and safety.
We must remember that we are in a working envoirnment at all times and whether we are young, fit and healthy or we are in our twilight years, we still need to embrace and adopt a certain degree of safety awareness. There are all the usual obstacles and hurdles in the form of gardening tools, lawnmowers, wheelbarrows and or raised bed frames that may be part of our backyard or back garden layout. Work smarter not harder is a mantra that we all can adopt, regardless of where we are working or what we are doing during the course of our day. Its just good housekeeping guides to adhere to and also, it’s about avoiding getting hurt or injured, whether its at work or out in our back garden. Could we replace that affirmation with ‘garden smarter not harder’, I’m sure we could.
Dressing for the occasion;
The first and most important steps to look at are how we dress for the occasion and have it in such a manner as that we are comfortable and protected at the same time. It’s always important to wear sturdy footwear as this will give us a strong foundation for whatever our gardening tasks are. Depending on what activities we are doing, ie, if its spraying chemicals or pesticides, we need to have a breathing mask, gloves and goggles. A work or boiler suit would also be a great addition to our gardening accessories and they so easy to work with and give a certain degree of confidence and assurdness when doing extra tasking jobs.
Its a good idea to wear gloves at all times, whether we are weeding with our hands or operating with a spade or fork, they make working that bit more comfortable and protect our hands. Depending on where we live and how hot the climate is, sun protection is another important issue, that we must not overlook. If it’s very hot, a hat of some description is always advisable and wear long sleeves if out and about for long periods. Apply suncream or sunblock to exposed parts and if we think its very hot, we are always reminded not to work or sit out during peak sun intensity times, ie, from 11 am to 4 pm.
Power tools and garden machinery are something that we all know can cause serious injury and as ever we need to be constantly alert and aware of what we are operating. These may be garden strimmers, lawnmowers, mulching and wood chipping machines or garden shredders. All of these devices have propelled moving blades and sharp teeth, which would cause very serious injury if we did become in contact with these. There are always instruction booklets and leaflets which come with the purchase and it’s essential that we read these before operating or working with these. it goes again without saying, we need to wear gloves, goggles and ear muffs and adhere to operating instructions. Under no cirsumstances should children be anywhere near these machines and if we are operating these in our back gardens it’s a good idea to have someone nearby, tell them we are operating a machine of some description, just in case we need them for any reason.
Know our limits;
Gardening is an enjoyable occupation at all or most times, but we need to know our limits in so far as when to stop and take a break every now and again. Its important to drink plenty liquids, especially if its really hot and humid while doing maintenance and general work in our gardens or raised beds. Always take a break if doing something strenuous and change to some other activity. As an example, if we happen to be digging our garden, after 30 mins or so, try weeding or perhaps mow the lawn, in that way we exercise all our muscles and limbs in equal measures, thus avoiding repetitive inducing injury.
The enjoyment we will get from our gardening activities is un-measurable and un-quantifiable in terms of health benefits. We don’t have to live out there day and night, but if we could give 30 mins a day, if we are working a day job, that would bring untold benefits and relaxation. The fresh air on its own would clear our heads and give us a different perspective on our day. We will form a relationship with our gardens eventually and after some time it will become part of our daily chore to automatically visit our gardens.
The benefits of being out and about in our back yards or back gardens, we have covered in some detail in an earlier post and that can be read here. The purpose of this post is just to remind people about how we could be better prepared for our gardening work and maintenance. It’s a common sense approach on awareness and just to be better mindful of where we are, what distractions, dangers and other issues may lie in our paths.