Gardening in the southern summer is one hot job. Whether you’re weeding the flower beds, tending to the vegetable garden or mowing the lawn, it’s easy to work up a sweat in our humid climate or wind up with a nasty sunburn from the brutal sun. As with any outdoor activity, it’s important to be safe to avoid problems like dehydration.
Some tips for staying smart in the garden:
- Drink plenty of water. It seems simple enough but can be easy to forget when you’re in the middle of a project. A great rule of thumb when it comes to water consumption is to divide your body weight in half and that’s how many ounces of water you should drink daily (so if you weigh 140 pounds, drink 70 ounces of water a day). Typically recommendations are about 40 ounces of water a day (read more about water consumption). If you’re really working up a sweat, you might want to supplement with a sports drink to replenish electrolytes.
- Wear sunscreen and maybe even a wide-brimmed hat or a baseball cap (don’t forget to put sunscreen on your ears and neck!). You may not realize there are two types of UV rays, UVA and UVB. Those UVB rays are the main cause of sunburns and UVA cause wrinkling and leathering of skin. Check out this article from the Skin Cancer Foundation about SPF numbers and what you need to know. If you do spend too much time in the sun, check out these home treatments to ease the pain – hey, maybe you can grab some aloe from your garden.
- Bug spray is a must for keeping away those pesky mosquitoes.
- Select the right clothing for the job. Flip-flops – although they may be the official shoe of the South – aren’t appropriate for mowing the yard or heavy duty projects like digging. If you’re clearing an untamed area of your yard, long pants may be a good option to avoid unseen problems like sharp vines or poison ivy.
- Garden in the off hours. Do your work in the early morning or late evening, avoiding the hottest parts of the day. Plants prefer early morning watering anyway, so you both win.