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Don't Let Your Allergies Keep You From Your Garden

by guest writer, Don Johnson, of avoid-nasal-allergies.com

                           pine_pollen_blowing_in_wind 

It’s a beautiful spring day and the sun is shining. It is dream weather for being in the garden. Many gardeners find themselves staying indoors rather than getting out and enjoying this perfect time in the yard. Their reason? They suffer from allergies. While gardening with allergies does require some special considerations, it is possible. In fact, if you plan ahead and remember these few simple tips, you can enjoy gardening with allergies just as much as anyone else. 

Spending time in your garden is one of the most enjoyable pastimes out there. It is the perfect hobby for any lifestyle. Kids love learning to work in the yard and especially enjoy seeing the fruits of their labors. Your love of gardening will multiply as you experience the joy of working with children and grandchildren in the yard. 

Gardening with allergies is possible and can be very enjoyable. Sure, you will have to make a few changes, but you quickly find that it is worth it. You will be happier and will get to spend time in the beautiful outdoors. Gardening is a great form of exercise and many find that it relieves stress as well. Having allergies should not be allowed to reduce the quality of our lives. 

What is Pollen and How Does it Affect My Allergies? 

If you have allergies, you probably know a little bit about pollen. Pollen is a reproductive substance made by plants. The male plant creates pollen which is then used to fertilize the female plant. The female plant needs direct contact with the pollen from the male.  Since plants can’t move, nature helps the pollen get to its final destination. Often the pollen is transported in the wind, which can cause serious allergy symptoms for those with allergies. Another method of pollen transportation is via insect. Some types of pollen are very sticky and can attach themselves to insects like bees. When the insect lands on another plant of the same species, the pollen is transferred and fertilization takes place. 

Pollen Seasons of Common Plants 

Springtime is a busy time for gardeners.  It is also a busy time for pollen production. But, spring isn’t the only time when pollen is produced. Many people are surprised to find out that pollen is produced through out the year. Plants start making pollen in the early spring and don’t stop until after the first frost in the fall or winter. Your climate and location will determine the exact timing of your pollen season. In general, the pollen production starts later in the year the further north you live. Different types of plants also produce pollen at different times. 

Tree Pollen

Trees produce the majority of their pollen very early in the spring. Their pollen season might not be very long, but they produce and release a lot of pollen in a very short period of time. 

Grass Pollen

Grasses start producing pollen in the late spring. Their pollen season is a lot longer than trees and continues throughout the summer as well. 

Weed Pollen

Weeds start producing pollen a lot later than other plant types, but they certainly produce and release a lot more to make up for it. Their pollen season starts in late summer and continues into the early fall. Some continue making pollen until the first winter frost. 

Gardening Tips for Allergy Sufferers 

Knowledge can be one of the greatest assets for people that want to garden with allergies. When we know what causes our allergies, we can find ways to overcome them. For example, pollen is released from plants in the mornings and late afternoons. This means that allergy sufferers won’t encounter as much pollen in the air if we work in the garden during the middle of the day. 

Another simple change that can be made is incorporating more female plants. Since male plants produce pollen, which can be a major irritant to our allergies, we can limit the amount of pollen in our garden by planting more female plants. If you do want to plant male plants, try to limit the number and plant them away from your house or walkway. 

The good news is that the beautiful flowers and those with a fragrance are the types that we like to incorporate in our design.  These flowers produce heavier pollen and do not stay airborne very long.  Furthermore, insects are also attracted to them and their pollen gets transported to their destination via the insects.

bee_covered_w_pollen_on_flower 

Watch the weather closely to find the ideal times for you to work in the garden. Pollen tests have indicated that more pollen is in the air when it is hot or windy. You can view what the pollen count is by going to http://www.pollen.com/allergy-weather-forecast.asp. This helpful website will provide the pollen counts for many areas. This can help you to determine the best time to be in your garden. 

Cool or cloudy days are a good time to be in your garden. Rain cleans the air and washes a lot of the pollen away. Try to spend more time in the garden after a rain and less time on hot sunny days. This can really cut down on your pollen related allergies. You might also want to consider wearing a pollen mask and goggles. They might not be the most attractive gardening accessories, but they will make a huge difference. 

Remember, the less pollen that you are exposed to the better. When you go out to your garden, wear long sleeved shirts, long pants, a hat and gloves. Take these off right when you go inside and put them straight into the laundry. This will keep your clothes from spreading pollen around the house. Since you may have pollen on your body as well, consider showering or taking a bath after you finish in the garden. Keep your gardening shoes outside to keep from tracking pollen and dirt into the house. 

If you love to garden, don’t let your allergies keep you from doing what you love. If you have always wanted to garden but have been afraid that your allergies would get in the way, fear no more. Gardening with allergies is possible, especially if you use these tips for a more successful experience. Everyone can enjoy the therapeutic benefits of being in the garden. 

About the author - Don is the editor and publisher for avoid-nasal-allergies.com which focuses on learning safe and non-invasive ways for coping with the pollen allergy symptoms.  Don's family found allergy medication to be non effective and Don himself traded the symptoms of allergies for the side effects of the drugs.  Refusing to accept the discomfort that this disease brings, Don's family attitude and focus changed. The emphasizes that Don writes about is on addressing the root cause and not the symptoms in which allergies manifest themselves in so that one can improve their overall health and well being.  Learn more about hay fever symptoms at his website and the natural approach that can be taken to overcome it.

 
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