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Garden safety

Gardening can be a lot of fun, but remember safety should always come first.

When you had out into the garden make sure you're wearing sturdy, thick boots. These should help protect your feet from any unforeseen incident. Protective safety goggles might be needed too if you happen to be mowing or whipper-snippering around your vegetable garden. Protective gardening gloves are also very handy good for safety.

Don't forget about avoiding the sun's ultraviolet light. It can cause skin cancers, so slip on a long sleeve shirt, slap on some SPF 15+ sun screen and slap on a wide brimmed hat.

Of course don't go out into the garden during extreme temperatures and climate conditions. If you suffer from hay-fever or similar conditions you mightn't want to garden when there is a high pollen count in your area.

When opening any bagged fertilisers, compost or potting mix, make sure you're wearing a protective safety mask which surrounds your mouth and nose. People have died of legionnaires disease when small nasties get released from the bag when opened. This is very rare, but of course you should take action to preventatively protect yourself.

If you have breathing difficulties, you might like to wear a protective mask if you're spreading around fine powdery fertilisers like lime, dolomite or blood and bone (blood meal and bone meal).

Gardening is great exercise, but if at any stage you feel overly exerted, or feel tingling in your arm, stop gardening and rest. Some people have suffered heart attacks whilst gardening, so consult your doctor before starting any exercise regime or intense gardening activities.

Before digging check with your local authorities about the location of any possible underground utilities on your land (eg electricity, water, gas, sewage etc). The last thing you want to do is hit one of these.

It goes without saying, but make sure there's no-one standing behind you before you start swinging a pick or mattock.

Once you've harvested your fruits and vegetables, whilst you've grown them organically and chemical free, it's still a good idea to thoroughly wash them before cooking and eating. This helps get off any dirt or organic fertiliser that might still be there.

Take these simple steps and you can reduce your risk of injury or sickness as a result of gardening.

Last updated 23 October, 2008

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