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Distancing in the garden, tips to reduce contagion

Distancing while gardening

When sick with a contagious illness, people are confined at home to avoid meeting others. When gardening outside, it’s important to follow a few basic rules to make sure social distancing is effective.

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Gardening, an activity best shared

Ever since the dawn of time, humans have been working together with nature to provide food – and beauty – for all. In olden times, entire families would gather with their neighbors to sow, weed and harvest fields.

Even today, gardening is best lived as a shared activity. Heavy tasks like planting trees and shrubs need two sets of hands to do things safely.

But how can we still enjoy gardening with potential virus carriers?

Here are a few tips on how to respect social distancing while gardening.

Setting up different spaces in the garden

We each have our own favorite activities. Use this to your advantage to stay at a distance while working together!

Create zones in your garden and split the work

Every garden has multiple goals. Beautiful landscaping, an abundant vegetable patch, a fruit-bearing orchard, a herb garden…

Try to allocate each family member to a particular zone.

A few common spaces would serve everybody, though.

  • This includes the garden shed, faucet area, and perhaps the compost pit.

These must be protected with alcohol for rinsing, or at least soap and water. Make it a habit to wash your hands before and after touching the water faucet, for instance.

  • For the compost pit, however, you can practice simply laying pulled-out weeds or trimmings within your “zone”. No need to mingle!
  • If there are several water sources, split them according to whoever’s garden spot is closest. For instance, there might be a faucet, a long hose, and a rainwater drum. No need for all to use the same source!
  • As for soil mix, no need to breach the quarantine: make soil mix from household goods yourself!

Set up new spaces to create more spots of interest in the garden

Why not have more places where people can sit down, without being too close to each other?

  • For example, you can set up a pergola in a scenic spot of the garden. Anybody not ready to garden could observe and share the joy from there very comfortably.

safe gardening lockdownMany of us will have more time to ourselves, too. Times of crisis are excellent to start praying and meditating.

  • Create a meditation garden in an unused corner of the lot.
  • It’s a fabulous way to vent off pressure, admit our own imperfections, and generally prepare ourselves for the sometimes difficult task of living together at close quarters.

Last but not least – maybe this is the time for those special add-ons you’ve been hoping to find the time to build!

Have several sets of basic tools

Social distance is respected by having separate sets of tools, like this bucket and trailer.Each person will need a few basic items to get work done in their area.

These simple tools may include:

  • a hand trowel
  • gloves – find the right size for best comfort!
  • a pail or bucket to carry seedlings, soil, and pulled-out weeds.
  • a secateur or loppers. Beware, though, these aren’t for children!
  • For best comfort and to avoid backaches, make sure everyone has a foam kneemat and possibly a short garden seat to work comfortably.

If each person has their own set of tools, it will reduce risks of contamination.

This is also excellent for the plants themselves, too. Diseases such as black leaf spot or septoria are often spread by using the same tools on different plants!

  • Disinfect tools before and after use.
  • Disinfect handles for humans, and blades for plants!
  • Teach children to do this carefully with blunt tools first.

Different activities to work on in the garden

There are quite a lot of tasks you can get done these days.

Remember – you can also work on your house plants, too!

Keep in touch with gardening pals – online!

Gardening events are often canceled during lockdowns. This includes flower shows, garden store training events, botanical gardens, local plant giveaways, and even beekeeping trainings.

But all these experts are still all fired up to teach you about gardening! Check with each group if they have an online web training you might sign up for. It’s important to get to the experts in your area, they’re the ones who will provide the best help in the long run!

On our side, you can get in touch with us through our social media accounts (see below).

Lockdown, gardening, and neighbors

As for neighbors, stay content with a chat from a distance.

If you’d like to share bulbs, cuttings, and other things, remember that the coronavirus can stay active for several days.

  • Mark out a “sharing zone” where you can put plants and tools you’d like to share with neighbors.
  • Let a full 5 days and nights pass before collecting the items. 24 hours is usually enough for the virus to die off, but 5 days is the longest it’s been recorded to survive.
  • And remember to disinfect any tools!

Where to buy seeds and plants during quarantine

There are a great many plants you might not even need to buy!

However, many online stores still cater to our gardening needs. Check with your favorite one which one they deliver.

  • Couriers and post office personnel are already trained on how to maintain social distancing, even when delivering gardening items.

Smart tip about social distance gardening

Make sure everybody understands this is temporary. Once quarantine and lock-down lifts, go back to working together – it’s much better for bonding and fun!

Images: CC BY 2.0: Ruth; Pixabay: Evita Ochel, Marina
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