Creating a Comfortable Work Environment – Continued
- Consider becoming a “messy gardener” and save effort with fall clean-up. Learn about the wildlife value of a messy garden from Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
- Select easy care plants
- Avoid working with tiny seeds.
- Choose young plants in small containers to reduce the need for digging large holes.
- Consider shrubs and perennials rather than annuals which have to be replaced each year.
- Avoid plants that require constant care such as deadheading or spraying for pests.
- Consider native plants: those plants which will want to grow in your garden and will help pollinators. See Incorporating Native Plants in Your Residential Landscape and native plant lists for New Jersey
General Health and Safety
- Gardening is hard work! Take frequent breaks (every 15 to 30 minutes) and stay hydrated. During your cardio break, consider doing some simple stretches such as these from the American Arthritics Association and these for the wrist from Harvard.
- Apply sun screen and insect repellent. Always check for ticks after each gardening session. Ticks and tick borne diseases are unfortunately very common in Burlington County.
- Do not “warm up” before you start your gardening session by stretching. Stretching a cold muscle can cause damage.
- Avoid repetitive motions by alternating tasks to use different parts of the body.
- Do not try to do everything at once. The weeds will wait.
References and Resources
- Arthritis Foundation Yard and Garden Solutions
- CDC Simple Solutions Ergonomics for Farm Workers
- Easy Ergonomics: A Guide to Selecting Non Power Hand Tools from NIOSH
- Garden Ergonomics from West Virginia University
- Gardens for Every Body from the University of Missouri
- NISOH RI9684 Practical Demonstrations of Ergonomic Principles
- SouthEast Wisconsin Master Gardeners Life Long Gardening
- The Arthritis Helpbook. Kate Lorig and James F Fries. 2006, Da Capo Press
- The Center for Disease Control National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
- Importance of Ergonomics in the garden by Jenn Fisher