Gardening Safety Tips: Keep Your Green Thumb In Good Shape

gardening safety

We recently posted some gardening tips for those of you interested in knowing more about the climate and other factors that impact gardeners in Virginia. Virginia is a wonderful location for gardening, with a pleasant, mild climate that is ideal for a wide variety of plants. The climate in Virginia falls into the USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 6 and 7, which usually do not produce the damaging frosts or extreme heat that can harm many plants.

If you want to start gardening – or perhaps you have been gardening for years – it is important to keep safety in mind. Gardening is a great way to get outdoors and stay active, but it is not without risk. As long as you are prepared and careful, you will surely have an enjoyable spring and summer gardening. Get started with our gardening safety tips.

CHECK YOUR EQUIPMENT

Whether you have brand new equipment or you are pulling your tools out of the garage after a long, idle winter, it is important to check that everything is in working order before you get started.

  • Sharpen shears and other blades.
  • Check for loose or damaged attachments.
  • Carefully read all instructions and warning labels before use.
  • Use any chemicals only according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Store fertilizers, other chemicals, and sharp tools where children can’t reach them.

WEAR THE RIGHT CLOTHES

Make sure you’re properly dressed for the demands of gardening.

  • Your gardening clothing should be loose and comfortable, allowing you ease of movement. However, it should not be too big or have dangling portions that could cause you to trip.
  • Wear sturdy shoes with good traction. Close-toed shoes are best to prevent injury in case you drop one of your tools.
  • Wear gloves to protect your hands from cuts and abrasions, splinters, and other damage.
  • Consider a wide-brimmed hat to keep the sun off your face.

BE MINDFUL OF SUN AND HEAT

The Virginia heat may not be too much for your plants, but it can certainly be a bit intense for us humans. Take notice of how you feel and take a break or call it a day if the sun and heat is becoming too much.

  • Wear plenty of sunscreen and reapply often. An SPF of 30 or above will give you the best protection. You will probably be sweating, so choose a waterproof or “sport” sunscreen for best results.
  • Drink plenty of water. Heatstroke is a real danger during the hottest parts of summer, and staying hydrated will go a long way to protect you.
  • Take breaks often and sit in the shade. Even with sunscreen, the sun can become intense after too much direct exposure. Give yourself a break frequently to cool down and recover.

KNOW YOUR LIMITS

Especially if gardening is new for you, start slow and don’t try to do too much all at once. If you are kneeling or crouching in the same position for a long period of time, make sure you move around and stretch frequently to prevent soreness and injury. Also be mindful of repetitive motions or lifting that may strain your back and arms. Stop long before you are exhausted so you will be in good shape to continue day after day.

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Photo: Jennifer C.
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