The summer months provide plenty of sunshine for your plants to flourish, but all those rays come with a lot of heat and potential discomfort as well. Every year, heat waves injure and kill thousands of people who fail to stay cool and hydrated during the hottest days of summer. Of course, as a gardener, you should be prepared to deal with the outdoors, but it can be easy to underestimate the treacherousness of gardening on a hot day. Between the constant activity, heavy gear and equipment, and relentless heat, all of the conditions are present for an unsafe scenario.
To keep yourself safe and comfortable in the garden this summer, be sure to heed the following eight tips:
Wear Protective Clothing
It should go without saying that proper work attire should be worn during any season, but choosing the right safety workwear is particularly important during the summer. When gardening, you need safety workwear that’s going to keep you protected from the elements without causing you to overheat. To get an idea of the kind of work clothing you should wear during the summer, have a look at the safetywear on Engelbert Strauss. Their catalog is full of work clothing made from lightweight, durable, and breathable materials. From trousers and coats to shirts and socks, leading brands like Engelbert Strauss have all the clothing a gardener could need to stay safe and cool.
Have Cold Drinks Ready
When you’re active outside on a hot day, it’s easy to sweat up a storm and become dehydrated in no time. You may not even realize that you’re on the brink of dehydration until you’re suffering from the side effects, such as headaches, muscle cramps, vomiting, dizziness, and other unpleasant symptoms. Going inside to make drinks can seem like a hassle when you’re in the middle of making progress in your garden. Thus, it’s best to have a fully stocked cooler with ice and beverages on standby. That way, as soon you detect the slightest bit of thirstiness, you’ll have ice-cold drinks on hand.
Take Frequent Breaks
Working for long periods without a break can heighten your chances of heat exhaustion and dehydration. Schedule your gardening in blocks so that you set aside time for plenty of breaks throughout the day. Ideally, you should be working for no more than 30-45 minutes at a time. As a rule of thumb, try to take at least 10-15 minutes’ worth of break time per hour for every hour that you’re working in the garden.
Pay Attention to the Daily Weather Forecast
While you’d like to think that you can handle anything nature throws at you, some days aren’t conducive to safe gardening. If you’re the type of person who checks the weather by looking out the window, you could be caught off guard by an abnormally hot day. Pay attention to the weekly and daily weather forecasts so you can schedule your gardening activities on moderately warm days. After all, you don’t want to make the clumsy mistake of picking the hottest day of the year to tend to your garden.
Be sure to use a wide-spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Applying sun protection products will decrease your exposure to harmful UV rays while still allowing you to wear sleeveless shirts to stay cool. If you’re against the idea of using conventional sunscreen products on your skin, there are also plenty of natural sunscreens to choose from.
Wear Safety Sunglasses
Shielding your eyes from the dirt and debris of the garden is an important safety step to take year-round. However, in the summer you’ll also benefit from choosing shaded safety sunglasses that protect your eyes from the brightness of the sun. Regular sunglasses are better than nothing, but it’s best to opt for safety glasses with shaded lenses to have full coverage from dust particles.
Start Early, Avoid the Afternoons
The period just after dawn is the coolest time of the day. Therefore, if you make it a rule to start on your garden as soon as the sun starts coming up, you can avoid the unpleasantness of summer gardening altogether. Generally, try not to do any gardening after 1-2 PM, as the afternoon is usually the hottest time of the day.
Have an Insect Repelling Strategy
If you live in an area that has a lot of mosquitoes or other insects, you’ll want to use some sort of repellent. There are many natural repellents to choose from. If you don’t have a greenhouse, you could surround your garden with netting or screening to keep bugs and other critters out.
Summer Gardening Can be Safe, Easy, and Enjoyable
As you can see, there isn’t much to gardening safety other than minding the weather and using the right gear. Fortunately, once you’ve started following the tips above as general practice, safe gardening during the summer should become second nature.