Planting a garden is a relatively low-risk activity, but certain safety precautions keep you safe while planting. Garden preparation often includes use of potentially dangerous tools. The physical exertion required to plant seeds or seedlings is another potential concern, especially for those with health issues or limited mobility. Minimize your risk of injury through safe gardening practices.
Wear Proper Gear
Appropriate gardening clothes protect you when you spend hours outdoors. Long sleeves, pants, a hat and sunscreen cover your skin to reduce exposure to the sun’s rays. You also keep dirt, fertilizer, grass and other potential irritants away from your body. Shoes with closed toes prevent injury to your feet from shovels or other implements used while planting. Gardening gloves keep dirt and contaminants away from your skin and out of cuts you may have. Another way to exercise caution is to handle planting during the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or evening.
Operate Tools Safely
The tools used in planting vary depending on the preparation needed for the area. If you’re digging up a patch of turf to create a planting area, you’re likely to use machines such as a mower or tiller. Wear ear protection around loud machinery and goggles if necessary to reduce eye injury by objects thrown by the machines. When using a tiller or mower, remove rocks first so they aren’t launched into the air. Shovels and garden spades are also common tools used when planting. Keep your hands and feet back when digging to avoid injury from these tools.
Apply Chemicals and Additives With Caution
Preparing the garden for planting sometimes involves applying chemicals or soil additives. If you use a weed killer to prepare the bed, follow the label and wait the recommended time before planting. Wear gloves and goggles when applying any chemicals to the garden to avoid burns or injury. When using soil additives in powder form, such as blood meal or wood ash, avoid breathing in the powder. Apply any chemicals or soil additives on a day with little wind, as this reduces blowing of the materials.
Monitor Physical Exertion
Planting a garden can take several hours, particularly in a large space. The chore often involves bending, stooping and kneeling, which can strain the back, neck and legs. If you have an existing injury, the physical actions may aggravate the injury. Lift and carry compost or other heavy materials with caution. Regular rest breaks reduce the strain on your body as you plant your garden. Notice how your body feels to determine if you need a longer break.