Monday, January 31, 2011

Gotta Have Gardening Geer

Since we're all curled up in front of the fireplace, sipping tea, and blogging about our "gardens-to-be" this spring, now is the perfect time to think about your gardening wardrobe. 

Uhhhh... wardrobe? (But what you're really thinking to yourself is... "Missy, Gardening isn't suppose to be a fashion show!")

I'm talking about attire that helps you do the job and do it well. Things like gloves, boots, and sun hats. These three items can really make a difference when you spend time regularly in the garden doing manual labor. 

Photo Credit: roswellsgirl

For several years I refused to invest in quality gloves, gardening boots, or a hat of any kind. I'd like to think that age has made me wiser, but in truth, I know age has made me... well,... older. 

Yep, my body isn't quite as able to rough as much as it use to. More and more I find that a good soak in the bath is necessary after a full day in the garden. So when I finally broke down and purchased some good gardening geer, it was like new life was breathed into my body!

If I had to list these items in priority, I would recommend gloves as your first purchase. Perhaps you think I'm really a wimp, but jobs I'd never tackle with my bare hands are no problem with gloves. They kind of give me that feeling of Super Woman where I can do whatever it takes; no job is too hard, heavy, dirty, rough, thorny, bug infested,... well, almost. 

Thankfully, you really don't have to spend a fortune on good gardening gloves, but you can't buy them at the dollar store either. I won't attempt to recommend a particular glove because I feel like this is a personal preference and depending on the job, you may want a different type of glove. So do a little shopping around see what's out there. 

Photo Credit: Jaymi Heimbuch

If possible, be sure to try the gloves on. For some reason my fingers must be longer than normal because the average medium just won't work for me; I have to go up to a large almost all the time. Get a glove that fits well and won't interfere with your work, but will enhance it. Each spring, Costco usually sells a package with several types so you have a glove for every kind of job. Do I use them all? Not really, but I find a pair or two in the package that works best for me and then I share the others with the kids. (They're not nearly as picky! Oh, yeah, that's because they're younger and they think they don't need gloves. But wait until they get into something with thorns and it's another story!)

Moving on to boots... this is the item that surprised me most. When I finally broke down and paid the outrageous price the catalog was asking for a pair of quality gardening boots, I thought I'd lost my mind! But these old feet just couldn't take the worn out tennis shoes and clogs I'd been using. Tell me if you don't do the same thing... 

You buy a pair of nice tennis shoes and wear them for a couple of years, all the while taking really good care of them because you paid so much! Then one day, you get involved in a project that's a little bit messier than you anticipated and they get a tad dirtier than you had hoped. You clean them up a bit and carry on, until the next project, where you wear them again and get them a bit dirtier than the last time. Perhaps you clean them a little, but not nearly as well as the first time. So continues the circle of projects and mess until the shoes are looking past their prime. And in the meantime, the arch support has broken down and you really need a new pair for exercise.

Upon buying the new pair of tennis shoes, the old pair gets set aside in the closet, mudroom, or garage until gardening day, when you pull them out and think "I'll wear these out in the garden so I don't ruin my new tennis shoes", where upon you find that after several hours outside your feet hurt because the worn out supports don't support, and little rocks and dirt are all in your socks because the sides are so low, all causing more discomfort. But, you continue to wear these because you're so wise and frugal, until the new tennis shoes wear out and you switch them out for another worn down pair.

Does that scenario sound familiar at all? Hello... am I the only one doing this? 

Not any more I'm not. I said "hooey" on that bit of nonsense. And I invested in a pair of good quality gardening boots. 

Photo Credit: Bogsfootwear.com

And ohhhhh, the joy of it all!! My feet felt fabulous! Why did I wait so long? And just what exactly was I thinking that I didn't need good shoes when doing the most strenuous work of my week?

Okay, I am going to recommend a boot here, but I realize there are others out there...

I love Bogs

There. I said it. They didn't pay me to do this post, nor do they know I'm even writing this. I just want to spread the joy! 

Easy on, easy off, good support (highest priority), tall enough to keep dirt out, waterproof, breathes in summer, decent enough for quick winter chores, and looks great. Did I forget anything? After a full year, these boots still feel great and are holding up to the work I'm doing in my garden and in the chicken coop. Why did I wait so long? (Oh, yeah, I said that, didn't I.)

Photo Credit: Sloggers

Finally hats. Now you can be sure that with this item I'm not making a fashion statement because I don't look so hot in a hat. But I don't want to wear a ton of sunscreen either (and I forget to reapply). So a hat is essential to protect my skin from too much exposure. 

A baseball cap looks cute, but it isn't going to give you the coverage you really need. Find a wide brim hat that breathes so you stay cool while covering your face so as to allow you to stay out in the sun longer (and protect your skin!). 

Come on, friends! Don't be so frugal as to end your gardening days before your prime! Invest in quality items, take care of them, and they'll take care of you! You can be sure the farmer who grew those veggies at the store has these items because he knows they're necessary to do the job. And if you're doing his job at your own home, why shouldn't you have the equipment you need?

What's on your list for must have gardening geer? Please sure to share your favorites!


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