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Health eTips is produced by the staff of the St. Charles County Department of Public Health. The department consists of three divisions - Environmental Health and Protection, Health Services and Humane Services - that provide a wide range of services focused on enhancing the well-being of this community.

If you have questions about the Department of Public Health or have suggestions on public health topics you'd like to see explored in this blog, please email us.

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Apr 09

Safe Backyard Gardening

Posted on April 9, 2018 at 11:57 AM by Doug Bolnick


Gardening is a source of pleasure and relaxation that fills neighborhoods with beauty and tasty treats. As the first signs of spring have begun to emerge, a great deal of behind-the-scenes effort will soon be underway.Backyard Garden

Safe Gardening

Backyard gardens are a labor of love. A few precautionary steps will keep that labor from being a painful one.

  • Taking shortcuts and exceeding your physical limits may appear to speed up the task, but you’ll often trade a few minutes now for hours of discomfort later in the day.
  • Carelessness can also contribute to injury, which is why it’s recommended to read all instruction manuals before beginning the job and storing your equipment so that it’s ready to use.
  • Be sure to dress for the occasion, wearing safety gear, sturdy gloves and sunscreen.

Organic Gardening

Another way to stay safe in your garden and help the environment is through organic gardening. Although it may take a bit more work, avoiding unnecessary chemicals will have a beneficial impact on your family, your home and your community. Not to mention that using natural methods to create the bountiful harvest is a great way to show off your green thumb to neighbors!
  • First, research the growing characteristics of the plants you desire and choose areas of your yard that meet those needs.
  • Water lightly, but enough to keep the soil moist while seeds sprout, and growth begins.
  • A layer of compost will provide nutrients and a little “elbow grease” will remove unwanted weeds.
  • You can also cultivate “good” insects like ladybugs and other friendly predators to minimize the damage from unwanted pests.

Rain GardensRain Garden

A rain garden can make a beautiful addition to your landscaping and prevent long-term damage through erosion and polluted waterways. A combination of water loving plants to decrease erosion, flowering plants to add beauty and wildlife friendly habitat makes the perfect setting.
  • The first step in building a rain garden is to choose the perfect place. Before beginning any backyard digging project, consult with 1-800-DIG-RITE to avoid unnecessary utility damage.
  • Consider the sun, soil and water conditions for the site, and select native plants that best survive in our climate.
  • When building the garden, design it in a way that channels runoff into a collection area where the water seeps into the soil.
  • Add decorative rocks and comfortable seating areas to make this a comfortable setting for years to come.

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For additional Health eTips throughout the year, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter.