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Column: Prepping ‘you’ for spring gardening tasks

Some of us are already up to our eyeballs in preparing our gardens for summer blooms, vegetable and fruit harvests and all things garden related.
Paulik Park gardening
Volunteers working in the City of Richmond’s signature park, Paulik Park.

Some of us are already up to our eyeballs in preparing our gardens for summer blooms, vegetable and fruit harvests and all things garden related. Most of us learn the hard way on how to prepare ourselves for gardening hazards such as injuries, noticeably dirty gardening hands.

The following are some tips and practices we should put in place before digging in:

  • Update your tetanus vaccination. Blood poisoning can easily occur when you come across a rusty object in the soil that can even pierce through your gloves.
  • Wear safety glasses when doing heavy pruning of overgrown shrubs or when using power saws. I learned this the hard way by getting a dogwood branch right into my eye when cleaning up an overgrown area in Paulik Park. Remember hearing protection if you are using power landscaping tools.
  • Make sure to have a first aid kit close at hand. Wash any wounds quickly, apply antiseptic lotion and a bandaid before going back to your work. Always wear garden gloves!
  • Warm up, bend and stretch all your muscles before gardening. Bend with your knees when picking up heavy items. Take regular breaks especially when doing some heavy weeding and planting or pulling large plants. Stop if it is painful!
  • Wear long shirts and long pants when pruning euphorbia, invasive blackberry bushes and other thorny bushes. Invest in a good pair of gardening shoes, gloves and good gardening tools. Sharpen your tools on a regular basis. On sunny days, make sure you apply sunscreen and wear a suitable hat.
  • Be kind to your hands. Before putting on your gloves, lavishly spread hand cream on your hands, adding more under your fingernails. As you work, your hands will absorb the cream. Any soil on your hands will easily wash off because the cream has formed a barrier.
  • Drink plenty water before you go outside and keep it close at hand while working in your garden beds. Sip a cold beverage frequently while you are out in the heat and continue “watering” yourself when you come inside.
  • If you are a first time gardener, make sure that you are active at least 2 1/2 hours per week, including exercise that raises your breathing and heart rate and strengthens your muscles. It is hard work taking care of a garden so make sure to take of yourself to better enjoy the great outdoors!

Lynda Pasacreta is the current president of the Richmond Garden Club. Mark May 12 on your calendars to attend our annual Mother’s Day Plant Sale to be held at South Arm United Church parking lot, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., rain or shine! For more information visit www.richmondgardenclub.ca
 

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