Protect Your Hands While Gardening July 18 , 2017

If you're serious about gardening, then protecting your hands while you work is a must. While it won't hurt you to pull a stray weed with your bare hands now and then, the kind of intensive work that a good garden requires is going to tear up your hands if you don't cover them. A pair of gardening gloves is every bit as important to the savvy gardener as a good trowel.


When you go shopping, be sure to buy the size that fits your hands. Try them on in the store, or bring a pair you already own that fits you just right and hold them up to the pair you want to buy.


Look for quality and comfort. Bulky seams on the inside will become a source of blisters when you go to work in them. Short gloves with wide cuffs will allow dirt to fall down into the fingertips and get under your fingernails, where it will drive you crazy. Select a pair that reaches past your wrist and has a snug-fitting cuff with some elastic.


To really get the most out of your gardening time, you need several types of gloves, each for different tasks.


For all-purpose protection from blisters as you use tools, you can't beat cotton flannel gloves. Choose the type that has raised dots on the palms to keep your hands from slipping on the tool handle. This will reduce fatigue as you work. They wear out fast, but they're cheap, often only a dollar. Look for them in quantity and plan to go through two or three pairs in a season.


For transplanting, get a pair of close-fitting gloves with waterproof fingers and palms. These should have a cotton lining and a stretch panel on the back so your hands can breathe as you work. These are a little more expensive than the flannel type, but cheap enough so you can get a second pair. Because they're thin to give you good dexterity, working in moist or soggy soil will wear them out. They're warm, so you'll sweat in them. All these are good reasons to replace them regularly.


For heavy duty work like pulling big weeds, you'll need a pair of gloves with leather palms and fingers. The type with canvas on the back will be cooler in hot weather. You'll pay more for these, but they're an excellent investment, and they're rugged enough to last several seasons if you don't let them get wet.


If you're using garden chemicals, get a pair of rubber gloves. Plastic or latex gloves aren't safe, because they're porous enough to let chemicals soak through and touch your skin. Rubber gloves are thick and clumsy, so they don't work very well for transplanting. They're really only good for one thing: keeping you safe from harsh chemicals.


Some gardeners prefer to use fingerless gloves for transplanting very small seedlings. They protect the palms of your hands for trowel work while allowing you maximum dexterity for handling delicate plant roots. Transplanting is dirty work, so keep your favorite soap and a nail brush handy for afterward.

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