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Grow Your Own Garden

little girl eats a freshly picked radish as mother smiles at her

Add beauty to your surroundings, get in touch with nature, spend time outdoors, lose yourself in meditation, work out any frustrations, and grow fresh, delicious food. These are all reasons why people love to garden. And because gardening lends itself to social distancing, many people are spending more time doing it or taking it up for the first time.

When planning your first garden, start small. Choose 2 or 3 different plants and work your way up to more varieties and a bigger plot. If you have a small space, try planting your vegetables and fruits in containers, or join a community garden.

Gardening and yardwork can help you live a healthier lifestyle.

Stay safe and healthy while gardening by following some advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Follow social distancing rules even when outside.
  • Protect yourself from exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light, which can increase your risk of skin cancer. Stay in the shade whenever possible. Wear and reapply sunscreen with SPF of 30 or higher, as well as sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat, and long sleeves.
  • Drink lots of water, and take frequent breaks in the shade. Pay attention to signs of heat-related illness, such as high body temperature, headache, faster than usual pulse, dizziness, confusion, and nausea.
  • Use insect repellent and tuck your pants into your socks to protect yourself from ticks, mosquitos, and other pests.
  • Wear gloves to protect your skin from cuts and chemicals.
  • When using power tools, protect yourself with safety goggles, sturdy shoes, and long pants.
  • When using loud machinery, protect your hearing with earplugs.
  • Read the labels and follow instructions for chemicals and lawn and garden equipment. Keep them out of the reach of children.
  • If you’re going through cancer treatment, check with your health care team about other precautions that might be needed when doing yardwork and gardening.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as editors and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.