Vegetable Exhibitors Weekend
9th Dec 1999
The Vegetable Exhibitors weekend seemed to be very well received by all who attended and the knowledge that was imparted during it was second to none. When you consider the calibre of those speaking, they were all probably the best in their field and well capable of talking clearly and concisely on their subjects.
Health and Safety
The speaker on Saturday afternoon was Robert Foster from Mansfield who gave an excellent talk on the health and safety aspects of gardening as well as some first class first aid hints. This talk, well illustrated throughout with superb slides opened everyone's eyes to the day to day dangers that are constantly in the garden and often more prevalent on allotments. How many of us have panes of glass around that are so useful during early spring in order to get the young seedlings growing away quickly. The danger of glass is obvious, particularly broken glass and any panes, whether they are large pieces or old wooden windows that have been replaced by plastic, should all be kept safely.
The slides that Robert produced reminded me of the time a few years ago just prior to the National Championships at Southport, when I was busy selecting the best of my long carrots. At that time the carrots were,grown in steel drums filled with sand, resting on a bed of sand and the whole unit was covered over with a timber structure incorporating sliding panes of glass. One of the first things I do when selecting is to work my finger through the sand and round the shoulder of the carrot to make sure that not only they are the size that I'm looking for but also that they are not cracked or forked. On this particular occasion I was working my index finger around the carrot when I met with some resistance. I thought it was a pebble or something similar so I gave an extra push, intending to move the object out of the way. To my horror, the object in question was a small sliver of glass that must have broken off one corner of one of the sliding glass panes and got mixed in with the sand. Needless to say the extra push cut the top of my finger nearly clean off and I had to go to the outpatients department to have it stitched up.
The main point here is not only the safety aspect but the fact that when I was asked at the hospital whether or not my tetanus (or lock jaw as it"s commonly called) injections were up to date, I was embarrassed when I had to tell them that they were not. I was given one that day which will last me for ten years, at which point I will need to have another one. When Robert asked the audience how many had been given a tetanus injection, over half responded positively and I'm sure that after his talk the remainder will certainly be thinking about visiting their doctor. I make no apologies for mentioning tetanus as it is a very real danger to gardeners; just imagine working in some old manure that may well carry tetanus and then having a small cut on your hand with the potential for the disease to get into your blood. A number of gardeners feel that they can not work in the garden when using gloves and goggles or safety glasses etc, but it is a must as the risk of injury is very real and the symptoms of dying from tetanus are horrific so we should all make arrangements to have an injection.