Urban farming may not be the most hazardous of jobs, but we do have minor injuries now and then. Cuts, stings, scrapes, burns and bites (not to mention aching muscles) are all part of the package when doing manual labor outside, so it’s good to be prepared.
You never know when a bee sting, a sunburn, or a helicopter will threaten to foil your day in the garden, so be prepared with a first aid kit.
Keeping a small first aid kit with your gardening supplies is a must, and even better if that kit can be free from harmful chemicals. The gardening we do is all natural, so why shouldn’t our first aid kit be chemical-free as well?
[Side note: A first aid kit is a thoughtful and creative gift for the gardener in your life, so keep this in mind for the next gift-giving occasion!]
We asked our Apprentice Extraordinaire, Carla, to share the holistic healing knowledge she’s gained through her medical school training; here are her recommendations for natural items you can add to your kit*:
1. Wipes. For small cuts, it’s useful to have wipes on hand to sanitize the area.
CleanWell is a trusted natural brand that makes a variety of natural products, including wipes.
2. Topical Cream. After sanitizing the area, you can apply a topical cream — all-natural Calendula cream or oil works well to soothe and moisturize small abrasions.
You can use either cream or oil, though I find the cream easier to apply and carry in my garden bag.
3. Astringent. Witch hazel is a natural astringent, which helps fight against inflammation, while also cleaning the cut. Witch hazel also helps relieve itch from bites and stings.
I keep a small travel size spray bottle filled with Witch Hazel in my bag.
4. Itch Soothers. For more intense itch relief, you can use Tea Tree Oil — it’s safe to apply directly to insect bites and stings.
Whenever possible, I try to buy products that are 100% organic.
5. Pain Relief. We do a lot of bending and lifting while tending to the garden, which often causes muscle and joint aches. Arnica Gel helps relieve sore muscles.
6. Insect Repellent & Sunscreen. To help prevent the bites, stings and burns, include a small bottle of all-natural sunscreen, and all-natural bug repellent (here’s a list of some of the best options to buy, and here’s suggestions for how to make your own).
You can buy or make your own all-natural bug repellent — a must for any garden kit.
7. The Basics. We also include the basics in our first aid kit: BandAids, paper towels, gauze and medical tape, tweezers (for splinters & stingers), and a bottle of clean water.
The basics: Band-Aids, tweezers, water… you know the drill.
Most of these items can be found at organic or health food stores (e.g., Whole Foods or MOMs Organic Market), and some can even be found at your local pharmacy or grocery store. Here’s a recap checklist to help you get your kit started:
First Aid Kit Checklist
– Natural Sanitizing Wipes
– Calendula Cream or Oil
– Witch Hazel
– Tea Tree Oil
– Arnica Gel
– Sunscreen & Insect Repellent
– Paper towels
– Bottle of clean water
Gardening is such a great boon for our health, and with a few precautions like an all-natural first aid kit on hand, we can keep it that way.
Happy (urban) farming!
* Sprout doesn’t endorse or have a relationship with any specific brand, product or company. If you have concerns about your health, please consult with your doctor or trusted medical professional to address your specific needs.