I received product and compensation from Claritin© to write this post. All opinions are my own.
It’s finally here, gardening season, and I’m all kinds of excited about getting my hands (and feet if I’m being honest) in the dirt. You want to know what I’m NOT excited about? My allergies. Trying to figure out how to garden when you have allergies has been one of the largest setbacks to the season for me. We have a cottonwood tree right next to the community garden and it’s not bringing me joy. As soon as the seeds that look like big fluffy balls of cotton start flying, I get twitchy. My eyes start watering and then my nose starts running and because I’m stubborn I power through it. Usually, the times I do that are when I’ve forgotten that I need to load up on my allergy medication of choice – Claritin® – and I make a mental note to do so immediately.
We’re in the midst of picking up plants to transplant into the raised beds in the garden for our We Sow We Grow Project. I’ve also started seedlings, but because of the weird weather, a lot of them still aren’t ready to be put into the beds, and won’t be until late in the season. That’s still fine, because it will give us a rolling harvest, and my heart will be happy. My belly will be too. I’m just saying.
Allergies are one of those things that I have because of pollen count from things around me. That darned cottonwood tree, dandelion seeds, and general muck flying through the air. It doesn’t stop me from gardening though. I just had to figure out how to garden with allergies. The kids are able to take their chewable children’s Claritin, while I can take the Claritin that’s made for adults.
It helps me stay outside and get happy! A new survey commissioned by the makers of Claritin found that spending as little as 20 minutes outside in nature can help make you feel happy. 97 percent of Americans surveyed find that spring is a great season to experience the simple joys that outdoor activities provide.
There are other things that I do in order to alleviate my reactions to the dander and other irritants while I’m in my happy place. Here are some ways to help you garden when you have allergies.
- Start taking your allergy medication about a week before allergy season descends on your city. For some people that’s as early as March, and for others as late as June. I have some friends who have had pollen covered homes, cars and trampolines for what seems like months now. The rain and their Claritin provide sweet comfort.
- Choose to grow plants that have flowers. I’ve noticed that none of the food that I grow has pollen that irritates me. It’s mostly because they are flowering plants and their pollen is too large to fly through the air. Bet you didn’t know that. My food has to depend on pollinators such as bees, butterflies and me to do the job for them. I also have self-pollinating plants (tomatoes) that are low on flying pollen.
- Garden when the pollen count is low – or when it’s damp outside. I know that this isn’t the only reason I garden right before the sun comes up. I’m not a fan of the heat, but I’m also not a fan of the heat AND a swollen face.
- Speaking of swollen faces, keep your hands off of your face and eyes. You may not see the pollen on your gloves or hands, but it is easily transferred as SOON as you wipe your face.
- Wear clothes geared for gardeners. A hat, gloves, sunglasses, and long sleeved shirts and pants will help. Of course, make sure they are lightweight so you don’t pass out from warmer days.
Gardening is such a pleasure of mine, and I know that it allows me to get outside during the warmer weather and work out the muscles that I usually don’t use because of my job. I mean, how many muscles are active from typing, formatting and editing on the computer? Not many. Plus gardening and being outside in general is such a HUGE mood lifter. Seeing plants grow and provide food for my family makes me happy.
Last month, I shared how to make sure your children get outside and get active for at least 20 minutes a day, and I wanted to make sure that I didn’t forget their parents. We need activity too. While we aren’t nearly as full of energy as our kids – okay, maybe that’s just me – we can still get the blood running through our veins and 20 minutes of activity in. Whether that’s gardening, walking, riding a bike, or just playing tag with the family, it’s still 20 minutes of activity.
The 20 Minutes of Spring Project is a part of year two of a three year partnership between Claritin and Boys & Girls Clubs of America, where Claritin has committed up to $500,000 to fund programming and create resources to help get kids outside. With gardening, I’m able to get my activity in while they run around, or even help, which my girls LOVE doing.
I love seeing families outside together and active. I sometimes notice that parents have to create activities that are more their speed, and I appreciate them for just doing it. I see you mama and dad – setting great examples for your children, and I see you doing it without allergies causing a ruckus.