Here, I discuss keeping yourself safe, sane and beautiful when you toil in the soil.
|At first glance, gardening appears to be dismal task. One toils in the dirt for hours on end, uprooting all sorts of soil, roots and creatures. But this pastime brings about a beautiful reward, in the form of flowers and vegetables. Abraham Lincoln may have said it best with, “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”|
It’s important to bring the right tools with you when you head to your garden. A spade and a hoe are helpful, but the most important tools you can bring with you are your hands! They pull, pluck, trim, dig, spread mulch and divide. To keep your tools in good working order you’ll need a decent pair of gloves.
A good pair of gloves is essential to any gardening experience. Gloves will protect your hand and help you to get a better grip on your gardening tools. Now, you probably have an ingrained image of some basic set of gardening gloves covered in some colorful pattern of roses or leaves. But there is actually a large variety of gloves used in gardening. It’s important to have the right glove for the right job! There are several factors to consider when picking out your gloves: Safety, Skin and Season.
You’ve most likely never seen someone digging around in their garden with a pair of surgical gloves on, but they’re incredibly useful. They’re very cheap (just a few pennies per pair), and they give you the means to pick up and carry just about anything you’ll encounter in a garden environment safely. Working in a garden will often expose one to harmful chemicals (fertilizers, insecticides, etc.). If exposed to the skin, said chemicals quickly absorb, and can make one quite sick. You can choose to either toss the disposable gloves out or thoroughly rinse them and reuse them.
While skin care may not be the first thing to come to mind when you think of gardening, it is a battle that gardeners must fight every time they step into their gardens. Digging, wrenching and pulling for hours on end leaves a gardeners hands fairly beat up. Years of this behavior results in rough calloused hands. While this might have been ok back in the pioneer days, today’s world is a bit different. In our youth obsessed culture, pulling an abrasive hand out of your gardening glove to shake a hand is nigh unacceptable.
For the body conscious gardener, sheepskin gloves could be just the thing. These slightly more expensive gloves excrete lanolin, a natural chemical known for its skin softening nature. Groping, pulling and twisting in the dirt is tough on a pair of hands. A little nurturing during this process helps hands to retain soft, smooth skin. If you can’t find a pair of sheep skin gloves, you might want to invest in some hand cream.
Most people consider gardening a springtime and summer activity – but think again! Planting trees and shrubs in the winter gives them a head start on their growing season. Just be sure to remember to water them during any dry spells.
Getting yourself psyched up to go dig in the cold wet ground isn’t the easiest task. Getting out there with the wrong pair of gloves can be disastrous. If you plan to be working in cold and/or wet situations, find a pair of rubber coated gloves. These will insulate your hands and keep them bone dry, allowing you to concentrate on the task at hand.
Once you’ve chosen the appropriate tools and gloves, it’s time to get down to work. Now, it’s important to remember that when you’re in the garden, posture is key. It would be a shame to let aches and pains dissuade one from returning to a beloved hobby. A big mistake you’ll see many gardeners making is bending over their gardens digging into dirt, or working with roots. It’s very easy to hurt your back this way. When you’re working with a ground level garden, keep your back as flat as possible. Use long-necked tools. If this isn’t feasible, consider an elevated garden. Whenever lifting heavy objects, be sure to bend at your knees/hips and lift with your legs, not your back.
When working with your tools, avoid extreme movements with your wrist. Keep them in a neutral position and use your arms for strength and leverage. If you’re an intense gardener, watch your grasp. Try to hold things with a light grip, as opposed to a steady hard grip. Instead of using one hand in a certain task, switch up hands and tasks to keep your body from fatiguing too quickly. You might even consider spreading out your gardening over several days, avoiding a day or two of aching muscles.
Following these guide lines, you’ll be able to enjoy gardening to the fullest. Soon you’ll be showing off your beautiful flowers to neighbors and passers by. So, choose the right glove for the job, pick your tools out, and get dirty! If you’d like more information on types of gloves and protective wear, try http://www.unitedglove.com.