Gardening tools provide us with great convenience but we have to remember that they are designed to cut and cultivate things that are difficult for us to do with our bare hands alone.
The photo of my finger – above – is the result of carelessness with my electric hedge trimmer. I was on the final section of the day – tired, and ready to just be finished – and this is precisely the time that I became sloppy. Believe it or not, so many of the gardeners that I talk to who have had injuries while using tools, received their injury at the end of the project…rushing to finish and often worn out.
I don’t care how hot it is, if you are using power tools, wear long pants and sleeves, gloves, shoes (flip-flops do not count) and eye protection…ear protection is great if you have it. These things are nothing to mess around with. In an instant, I almost lost a finger.
Also – KEEP YOUR CHILDREN AND PETS IN THE HOUSE WHILE YOU ARE USING YOUR TOOLS! Hopefully I don’t have to explain the importance of that one.
One last thing, even non-power tools must be used with care. Hand pruners are incredibly sharp. They are designed to cut through woody stems and plants. Imagine how well they will work on your hands…another one of those “lessons learned along the way.”
Non powered tools such as shovels, cultivators, hatchets, metal rakes, etc. are designed to penetrate the ground and help remove debris. When we use these, we are putting a lot of our own energy into their use. They are not as benign as they seem. I was once using a hoe to increase the edging around my garden. I was wearing flip-flops. Do I need to go on or do you get the picture…very sore and nasty looking big toe for a very long time.
Anyway – please be careful with your tools. Look at your attire and assess any possible scenario that could happen to threaten your safety – BEFORE- even starting. If you become tired, rest. Be especially careful at the end of the project. This is the most common time to rush and to make a mistake…oh yeah – did you see that picture of my finger at the top…don’t be like me.