Gardening is a relaxing and enjoyable form of exercise, but it can pose health risks. There are many safety issues in the garden, and here we share some tips for just a few of them. Our best advice is to know your limitations and think a job through before you start it. Be cautious and use your common sense, read instructions, use the right tools and stay safe in your little piece of paradise.
Some common sense rules are:
1. Don’t touch someone else’s garden unless you have their permission.
2. Never eat anything in the garden unless you know it is okay.
3. Ask before you pick flowers.
4. Wear sunscreen and a hat as a routine when you are outside in the garden.
5. Wear gloves when handling soil or potting mix, when moving anything rough or sharp or when working where spiders may lurk.
6. Wear boots or solid footwear.
7. Always check inside boots before putting them on, especially if they have been stored outdoors.
8. Garden in suitable old clothes.
9. Wash hands well after handling potting mix, soil or compost.
10. When lifting something heavy, bend your knees and crouch down, then lift it by straightening your legs. To avoid back injury, do not bend over to pick up something that is heavy. Seek help to lift and move heavy or bulky materials or objects.
Where To Get Help
- In an emergency, always call triple zero (000).
- The poisons information centre phone number in Australia is 131 126.
- Your doctor
- Garden supply centres
- Gardening equipment manufacturers. For example, on the Yates website we feature Master Safety Data Sheets for our products, this will provide the information you need if you’re concerned.
Protecting Bees In Your Garden
Bees play an essential role as pollinators in the garden. Without bees many of our vegetables and fruit would never get to harvest stage.
One way to encourage more bees into your garden is to plant lots of flowers to attract bees and other pollinators. For example, mixing flowers among the vegies not only adds colour, it helps to ensure that there are enough bees around to do the job. Of course the bees aren’t interested in helping the flowers; they’re simply chasing the pollen and nectar that the flowers produce. Pollination is incidental. Honey bees, while important, are not the only pollinators. Many other insects play a part in pollination, as do environmental factors such as wind. Native bees, of which there are more than 1500 species in Australia, are also critically important. Tomatoes, for example, are pollinated by what’s termed ‘buzz pollination’. Buzz pollination is almost impossible for honey bees but can be carried out by certain native bees.
Take special care when applying garden sprays such as insecticides. Remember bees and many other pollinators are insects so they will be adversely affected if insecticides are used without due care. They may even be harmed by other substances such as fungicides (*).