From pollen to pollution and altitude, many things can make it challenging for asthmatic gardeners to get started. Difficulties caused by exercise, altitude, or pollen can make gardening with asthma a challenge.
Fortunately, there are ways to garden even if you have asthma. Regardless of your health challenges, gardening can be for everyone.
This article will cover some ways asthmatic gardeners can protect their health while cultivating a garden, and also cover some plants that are and aren’t good for those with asthma.
Protect Yourself From Contamination
Asthmatics must take a certain amount of precautions in daily life, from carrying inhalers to finding ways to get life insurance with asthma. This protection should also extend to gardening.
Those with asthma may have more severe reactions to irritants and struggle to catch their breath when coughing or sneezing.
You can protect yourself from asthmatic attacks and respiratory issues by keeping yourself covered. Wear thick rubber gloves and boots and long sleeves and pants. Hats, sunglasses, and even masks will keep you from inhaling pollen, dirt, dust, or mold spores.
Although it may be sweaty and uncomfortable during the summer, you need to keep as many irritants away from your bare skin and mouth as possible.
Make sure that you have a set of clothes, shoes, gloves, and tools that you only use outside. Take off your shoes outside or in a mudroom, and make sure you don’t track outside dirt, spores, or pollen inside.
You could also look into fighting allergens and asthma triggers with an air filter if you have an indoor garden.
Grow Asthma-Friendly Plants
Many plants are much better for those with allergies and asthma, and some can help protect the air. Female plants and shrubs that don’t pollinate will be pleasant for asthmatic gardeners, and also capture pollen that may drift into your garden from elsewhere. Asthmatic gardeners should try to use female plants and flowers that won’t attract insects.
In addition, you want to select plants that are easy to care for in your climate. Native plants will be less prone to mold and decay, which will reduce the number of irritants in your garden. Some plants will actually detox your air and absorb pollutants.
Peace lilies are not only great for asthmatics but are also perfect for beginner gardeners. It is extremely resilient and can survive even mistake-prone beginning gardeners. It also is one of the best plants for removing airborne volatile organic compounds. It is mildly toxic, so be careful with this plant if you have children or animals.
Some other plants that are fantastic for asthmatics include azaleas, boxwoods, cactuses, columbine, daffodils, pansies, orchids, and petunias.
Plants to avoid include chrysanthemums, daisies, and sunflowers, as they are related to ragweed, a common asthmatic trigger.
Plan Your Garden With Clear Lungs in Mind
To avoid too much exposure to pollen, pollution, or outdoor elements that can make breathing hard, consider having an indoor garden of potted plants and other easy-to-maintain greens.
Many houseplants are extremely friendly for asthmatics, and also will involve less physical exertion to maintain. Snake plants, English ivy, and bamboo and Areca palms are great options.
If you do have an outdoor garden, you can minimize breathing hazards by opting for a low-pollen lawn and making your garden bird-friendly. Bermuda grass hybrids and buffalo grass are both bred to produce very little pollen.
Buffalo grass is perfect for areas with water restrictions or a lot of droughts, as it’s a native turfgrass optimized for warm seasons.
In addition, consider shade and water retention. Think about how much physical labor you can do easily. Can you handle hoeing and more labor-intensive weed pulling? Can you work longer if you have proper shade and enough water?
Remember that you should be wearing long sleeves, gloves, and other protective gear, which can make a hot day even hotter. Plan ahead to put your health first.
Keep Mosquitos and Bugs Away
Birds will eat the bugs that prey on your plants. Bugs can not only damage your garden with eating but also with their feces, which causes mold to grow. Mold spores can make it harder for you to breathe properly, so keeping your garden mold-free should be a priority.
To prevent mold from growing in your garden, make sure that you know how much water your plants need. Overwatering can help mold build up and also attract insects like mosquitoes, which spawn in standing water.
Keep a look out for mold, and trim or cut off any plants that have dead or moldy areas. Replace old soil with fresh soil if it has become infected with mold.
Pay attention to the conditions of sun, shade, or temperature your plants need. The easiest way to do this is to use plants that are already native to your area. As they are already built for the climate, you will have to do less climate control or adjustments.
Use Non-Chemical Weed Killers
Chemical killers are effective at killing weeds, but they can also be detrimental to the health of your plants. And not only that—they can be detrimental to the health of your lungs as well.
The easiest way to non-chemically clear weeds is to pull them yourself, though this might be difficult depending on your physical ability.
You can usually make your own weed-killer using white vinegar, table salt, and dishwashing liquid (only a teaspoon or so). Vodka can also be used to make an effective weed-killer.
Vinegar and a small amount of dishwashing liquid in a spray bottle will handle most weeds without harming the soil. Make sure you only spray weeds, not the rest of your garden.
Vinegar and salt, meanwhile, will kill all vegetable life and make sure it does not come back. This will be useful for areas of your yard where you don’t want anything to grow.
Asthma and Gardening
By following these tips, you will be able to create a garden that is safe and easy to care for even if you have asthma.
Asthma can make it difficult to do many activities, but gardening can actually help you breathe better if you plant the right variety of plants. Do your research into asthma-friendly plants, and you may find your personal garden helps you breathe a little better.
Make sure to think about how to prevent cross-contamination between your garden and your home and how to avoid causing excess irritation to your mouth and throat. Be sure to drink plenty of water and keep yourself shaded while gardening. By following these tips, you will be able to have a pleasant gardening experience.
Deborah Goldberg is a health and wellness writer for the life insurance comparison site, QuickQuote.com. She is passionate about finding ways to make outdoor activities possible for those with health issues or disabilities.