Gardening is one of the many hobbies that people have. It is one that brings people close to nature. People pursue their hobbies in the public gardens or also the gardens in their backyard.
It gives the house a good and natural feel. But many people are unaware that if the gardening is not done properly and with adequate precautions, they can cause many diseases. These diseases can be dangerous in the long run for the human life.
One aspect of modern gardening that affects it the most is the use of pesticides. What people think is that pesticides help in removing the insects and pests harming the plants. They are unaware of the fact that it kills all kind of pests and small animals that are necessary for pest removal. In the long term, the pest population increases due to this reason and the soil become infertile. It leads to improper plant growth.
One way of reducing the risks is proper and organic gardening. It can be said to be the traditional agriculture methods, applied to gardening. It prescribes the least use of the pesticides. The traditional and orthodox techniques of the plantation are used.
The beneficial predatory insects are encouraged to increase in population and eat pests. Planting crops or other plants that divert pests is also a measure of pest control. It causes the least changes in the natural growth of plants, making sure that they remain safe to the people around them.
Risks in Plantation
There are many kinds of health risks associated with planting. These can be dangerous if a person is exposed to them. To name some:
- Legionella Bacteria
- Weil’s Disease (Leptospirosis)
- Ingesting Pollutants
These are the bacterial, fungal and viral diseases that go into the gardener through breathing. They may cause respiratory problems to the person. Some of the diseases are also caused due to urban gardening. The pollutants enter the soil of the garden, and the gardener is exposed directly to the pollutants.
Photo Credit: http://www.jansochor.com/photo-blog/banana-worker-plantation
These bacterial diseases are available everywhere. These are the most common kinds of health infections that can occur to a gardener. Old people and the people with respiratory problems such as asthma are very likely to be affected by the bacteria. These diseases tend to be very dangerous for the people with respiratory problems, as they become an easy target for these bacteria and also their immunity system is quite weak.
Pollutants and Soil
The health of the soil has degraded in the past few decades. It is largely a byproduct of population boom and pollution. The soil has a lot of certain harmful pollutants, which includes:
Photo Credit: https://www.revealnews.org/article-legacy/chinas-other-pollution-problem-its-soil/
The use of pesticides also introduces many chemicals to the soil, which may turn out to be really harmful. These chemicals can be ingested or inhaled by the gardener. Also, children, many times play in the mud and are prone to these chemicals. Sometimes they even put their dirty hands in their mouths. It increases the danger that they are exposed to.
It is found that in the urban gardens, the lead concentration in the soils has increased substantially, giving rise to many diseases to children and other gardeners. While it is said that the best suitable level of lead is 200-300ppm, the lead found in many places is 600ppm.
Photo Credit: http://www.archdaily.com/tag/urban-farming
It is a very high amount of lead and is quite dangerous. Though lead in the soil affects a person only if it is directly consumed, by the way if inhaling. It is not seen to affect a lot if consumed through a product of the plant, such as fruits and vegetables.
Also, in urban areas, many gardens are built on sites, which earlier had harmful chemical activities conducted on them. These can be garages, car wash stations, gas stations or industrial areas. These have many different chemicals in them, which can be present in the soil and spread the diseases. They can be petroleum, lead, metals, solvents, etc. These can be a sizable threat to the health.
Many improper gardening habits also infect the soil and the plantation and thus affect plants. These can be under or over watering. Also extensive use of pesticides increases the chemical quantity of the soil. Many times dead or diseased plants are left in the garden, which spread parasites, pests, and diseases.
Measures to Minimize the Risks
There are many measures to minimize the health risk of a plantation in gardening. As it is said, “Precaution is better than Cure.” The gardener should also take precautions to be safe and save himself the trouble of visiting a doctor.
Photo Credit: http://www.treehugger.com/green-food/how-can-we-keep-pollution-out-urban-gardens-and-farms.html
Some of the precautionary measures that may be considered are:
- The gardener can use hard gloves while handling soil and chemicals.
- Thin latex gloves can be used for delicate works.
- He should open the chemicals and handle them properly, without exposing his body parts.
- He should avoid inhaling these chemicals using a mask for a face. It will avoid the unwanted particles of dust and chemicals from going inside his respiratory system.
- The water should be stored in a place so that it is not under direct sunlight. It’s the best temperature while sprinkling is 20 degrees Celsius. It should be made sure that the water temperature is maintained.
- If working with thorny plants, it is necessary to cover the body parts. It can cause tetanus if they cut our skin.
- Fresh cuts must be covered up properly to avoid tetanus. Hands must be washed after gardening and before eating.
- Many plants catch soil diseases, which can be controlled by making use of munch. It provides a barrier between the foliage and the soil, which prevents the water from splashing from soil to the foliage.
- Gardener should make sure to fence the boundaries of the garden, to avoid very young children from coming into the garden. These children get their hands dirty and then put these hands in their mouths.
- Also, the products are taken from the garden, for instance, fruit, must be washed properly before consumption. It will clean all the external bacteria.
- The plants need the best growing environment. It has to be made sure to plant them at the right location, and that they should have proper lighting available.
- It is necessary to remove the diseased and deceased plants out of the garden.
- Weeds should be checked and removed in the garden. Weeds cater pests and bacteria in them and thus, cater disease. It is very important to get rid of them.
- The plants and garden need a proper amount of watering. Over watering or under watering can harm the soil and the plants. If extra water is available, the foliage will stay wet for a longer time and will allow more diseases.
Soil Maintenance in Urban Areas
The soil in urban areas is often quite polluted. It needs some cleaning to make it less contaminated and thus, disease free. There is one easy and inexpensive way of doing this. It can be done by making a barrier above the existing contaminated soil, and covering it up with fresh soil. There will be new and contamination free soil in the garden, reducing the risk of disease.
If the soil is less contaminated, compost can be used to spread or dilute the contamination and make the soil free of contamination. But, the gardener is needed to check the quality of the compost before using it. There are chances that the compost may be contaminated and may not be any use. It may as well spread unwanted contamination into the soil, which in turn affects the plants.
Gardening – The Right Way
Thus, it can be said that gardening is a very sedate hobby of many people, but it accompanies with its own set of dangers and setbacks. While it gives the place a beautiful edge over the other places, if dealt improperly, it also spreads diseases. These are bacterial, fungal and viral diseases, mainly targeting the respiratory system.
Taking some preventive measures and a cautious approach the diseases can be reduced in the garden. These are very basic approaches to a safe health. Also by adopting some organic gardening techniques, the safe plantation can be done in the gardens. Gardening is a job done to liberate oneself and not fall sick to the set of diseases it brings.
Write to Us
Taking proper protection is a must. There may be other dangers of plantation and precautions to minimize risk in gardens. If you have some suggestions, do mention it in your comments. And if you liked this blog and thought it was helpful, please do share it with your loved ones so that even they can get awareness and protect themselves from these diseases.