Do not let your allergens keep you from doing the things you love like gardening. Here are ways to avoid them and still enjoy your outdoor hobby.
Credit: Big Stock PhotoThe sunshine and soft breeze you enjoy while working in the garden is nothing in comparison to the wild world of invisible pollens floating through the air. Just because you are allergic does not mean you have to ignore your yard, during the beautiful Spring months, however. Here are some options for how to mitigate your allergies enough to make gardening enjoyable again.
By sharing the work of a garden, you get to also share the joy and the allergens, making it a win for all involved. Some ways you can do this is to find out if your city has a neighborhood garden, where you can pay a small fee per year to have a raised bed to grow whatever you wish. This way you can visit the garden area, or get friends to help you out if the pollen levels are just too high that day, plant, maintain then harvest from your own miniature garden. This is a perfect solution for those who live in apartments or townhouses as well, because you do not need to have your own yard to cultivate.
Another way to “garden share” is to partner with a friend or family member near you that is interested in sharing the rewards of a garden, whether that is a bounty of flowers or vegetables. If you can pinpoint when your allergies are the worst, divide the work based on that information so you can avoid the pollen and other allergens if possible. Use the back yard at your house, or your garden partners house and make sure there is an agreed upon time to work so that there are no unexpected surprises when you are relaxing at home, or cleaning the house in your pajamas.
To enjoy a garden, but not a ton of hard maintenance work on it, visit your local garden center and find out which plants, bushes and shrubs are best for your needs. It is possible to set up your garden to need just once weekly, or even once monthly maintenance depending on the plants you use select.
Another option is to use just a small part of your yard for gardening. If you want the beauty of the lush greenery without all the hassle, landscape part of your yard using rocks and other maintenance-free things then select a border or corner area to make into the mini-garden of your dreams. This way the time needed to take care of your garden is much less than if you had a park in your back yard, plus if you have an especially bad season with your allergies you do not lose nearly as much time and money by starting over from scratch next time.
Off Season Gardening
Spring is the time when we traditionally think of gardening, from flowers, to vegetables to complete overhauls of our landscaping. But, you can grow many different types of plants and flowers during other seasons. You can even grow later in the spring once your allergies have calmed down and depending on where you live you can still reap the same benefits from your efforts, if just a bit later in the season. Hearty plants like tomatoes, pansies and mums all work well for summer planting. Other good options for summer time planting include fall and winter squash, peppers, cucumbers and eggplant, according to P. Allen Smith Garden Home.
If you want to enjoy summer flowers, you can also plant some blossoming bushes before the spring really gets pollen-filled, then allow the hearty plants to grow through spring, then enjoy the beauty and the natural fragrance during the summer time once the pollen levels have dropped down to a comfortable level again. Good plants to try this with are things like jasmine, gardenia and oleander. If the area you live in is not friendly to plants before spring hits, try starting these plants out in containers indoors, perhaps in your garage. Then move them out to the patio area or your yard when the weather permits. If you set them up with drip irrigation, you may not even need to revisit the plants and bushes again until summer time.
Options To Combat Allergies While You Garden
Plenty of people simply deal with their allergies because they love the allergen too much. Think about those cat and dog owners who are allergic to their furry four-legged best friends and you have a good example of people dealing with the allergies because they love the allergen. If you love gardening and are okay with just dealing with the allergic fallout, you have some great options to help you avoid being miserable while toiling in the soil. You can try out one of the newer allergy medications like Allegra and Zyrtec that are more effective than many predecessors and have few side effects. The name brands for these medications often even have coupons available in the Sunday newspaper ads during the springtime. Another option is to buy a mask to cover your nose and mouth. You can use something simple like a painting mask you can find at a big box store with the painting supplies, or go higher tech by getting a mask with carbon filters that will make sure to trap everything possible in the filter system.
If you truly cannot bear to spend any more time outside than necessary during the spring months there are a few indoor gardening options you can explore. One of the most zen options is a bonsai garden that thrives with little soil and is contained in a dish. This way you get the beauty of the outdoors inside in a miniature version, but make sure that the tree you select is not on the list of your most potent allergens. Another useful indoor gardening option is a mini herb garden you can grow in small pots near a window. This is a great way to bring gardening to your kitchen, because you get the benefit of the ambiance, the fragrance and the fresh herbs in your next dish. Clay and ceramic pots are also useful for plants and miniature trees that can thrive indoors as well.
No matter what your allergy profile, you do not have to avoid gardening completely. Do not let the pollen and your body’s reaction to it keep you from the simple joy of gardening.