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Protecting Yourself from your Garden

Randy DeVaul

Posted on February 22, 2019 22:03

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Whether you live someplace warm or you are just wishing you did, you are likely beginning to think about this year's garden, the labor that will be involved and the fruit your hope results from it. The benefits are great, but the dangers can be as well. Be safe in your endeavors so you can enjoy the fruits (and veggies) of your labor.

Those of us who live in places like Florida may already be in planting mode. For most, you may question my sanity for writing about gardening in February, but stay with me here.

Whether you already succeed at gardening or are taking it on for the first time, remember what you are doing. I don’t mean feel the joy and accomplishment of turning a seed the size of a pin head into a bounty of delightful cuisine. I mean running the bull (or is it the ‘deer’) to till, disc, and otherwise preparing your soil with bags of plant food, bug killer, animal feces, and grass killer so you can share your crop with your neighbors – perhaps with those of us who can’t get anything edible to grow.

Most likely, you haven’t used your tiller since last Fall (or maybe even last Spring). I hope it is not the same gasoline from last year that you are using now. It may not work well if it has already “gelled” from sitting idle in the tank for the last six months. Check the spark plug and engine oil, as well.

If you are new to this or you decided to relocate your garden, make sure to call the utilities first or you may not be watching your cable, using your phone, or accessing the internet on your computer while you write out your penalty check for not having called in the first place.

Wear durable work shoes or boots, not tennis shoes or (horror!) go barefoot. You only have to see the remains of a toe or foot that got wrapped up in a disc one time to appreciate the use of proper footwear for this project.

Wear work or gardening gloves to protect your hands, especially if you are tilling the ground the old-fashioned way. No, on second thought, borrow or rent a tiller. Just don’t forget to ask someone knowledgeable how to use it. We are not born with an inherent gene with such knowledge already instilled in us. It's as much a safety thing as a matter of saving face when your neighbor watches your first attempt at running it. Better yet, ask your neighbor to demonstrate how to use it so he can till the ground for you.

Follow the instructions that come with the bags and sprays of chemicals. Using too much of a good thing will kill your chances of seeing the fruits (or vegetables) of your labors along with your pet, your neighbor’s pet, and your grass. Buy the amount you need. Don’t bulk-buy these products unless you can use them. Bulk-storing chemicals in a garage or shed is only begging for trouble.

Gardening takes work with the right balance of seeds, water, soil preparation, and patience. Throw that balance off and you get what you don’t want, including a serious injury. Learn before you do, then do it right, so you and yours can be safe at home.

Randy DeVaul

Posted on February 22, 2019 22:03

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Source: The Guardian

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