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Gardening gloves

2 October 2011
Gardening gloves

There are several things to consider when selecting gardening gloves: The first is that there is no one pair that fits all gardening chores. Trying to use the same glove for every gardening task can be like trying to use a baseball mitt to play golf.

Glove lengths vary. Thin, wrist-length gloves that are snug and flexible are great for pinching chrysanthemums but likely won’t prevent blisters when you are raking leaves. But padded gloves that reduce blisters and scraped knuckles also reduce the manual dexterity needed for detailed work in the garden.

If you are pruning shrubs or working around poison ivy, a glove with an extended sleeve provides much more protection than wrist length models. Most gardeners should have at least two pairs of gloves, one for precision chores and one for those activities that require some protection. Your gloves should also suit the season - the gloves you wear for summer weeding are probably not warm enough for turning the compost in winter. Waterproof gloves are particularly important for cold, wet weather. While it’s also important to wear waterproof gloves for mixing garden chemicals or cleaning the pond, breathable gloves are a better option for many warm-weather tasks. Some gloves offer waterproof palms and fingers and a breathable back. In summer, gloves with added sun protection come in handy.

Gloves get dirty, so it’s helpful if they are washable. But you needn’t put them through the washer each time you wear them. Washing them with the hose while they are still on your hands-add a little soap if necessary-is often sufficient. Fit is also very important; gloves should be tight enough to stay put without binding and be loose enough to be comfortable without feeling too bulky. Try them on before you buy them to be sure they are comfortable. Or if you buy them online, follow the manufacturer’s size guidelines. Durability is another consideration. No glove lasts forever, but a well-constructed glove will take some abuse-sturdy material and reinforced seams can make a big difference. However, if you work in the garden a lot most gardening gloves are good for a single growing season at best. But they do earn their keep.