I stopped wearing gardening gloves a couple of years ago.
No matter what gloves I tried including rubber, cotton and reinforced tradesmen material they always ended up with holes.
Gloves with holes don’t stop bull ants, spiders or plant poisons ripping into the skin and leaving nasty rashes.
In fact, gloves with holes are as useless as a faulty condom as both result in unexpected welts.
One day, a friend mentioned that he gardened gloveless and had few problems with insects and spiky weeds. I decided to give it a try
It was liberating.
I completely changed my approach to gardening.
I check for insects upon the foliage before pulling out weeds and dig out spiky plants rather than yanking them.
Going gloveless also prevents me accidentally pulling out seedlings that have become entangled in the weeds.
The bull ants, spiders and plant poisons remain but I am aware of their presence and shovel weeds into piles before removal.
Of course, I still sustain the occasional injury but mostly small blisters on my palms after prolonged digging with a spade.
I also get dirt under my nails and in the creases of my hands. The dirt takes quite a while to get off and not always removed successfully. Sometimes I’ll be in a shop or at work and notice my hands still stained with the reddish brown soil from my garden.
Overall, gloveless gardening is a success because I proceed with caution and insert an appendage only where safe to do so.
Just like a man without a condom.
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About the author
Sue Bell is an entertainment writer and author of Backpacked: A mostly true story, Beat Street and When Dreamworks came to Stanley.