Take Off Those Gloves

Ladies and Gentlemen, put down your gardening gloves. Yes, it's time to get outside and renew your direct bonds with the earth -- grow produce, plant flowers, trim bushes, etc. Just don't let me see you wearing gloves while you do it!


I know it's seemingly natural to walk out to the garage and arm yourself with the basics:

  1. Shovel
    "Digger," as I usually call it, and anything else that digs, whether it's a small trowel or industrial-size excavating equipment...much to my husband's dismay.
  2. Kneeling Pad
    I don't consider myself "decrepit," but apparently any knees over about 22 years old will scream at you if you aren't using one of these things.
  3. Watering Can
    Yes, although not decrepit, I am somewhat old-fashioned. If they didn't have it on Little House on the Prairie then I don't need it either. I actually just try to avoid the high-blood-pressure inducing screaming matches that I inevitably have with the hose and its reel. I'd rather haul water around my one-acre property, one gallon at a time, than let loose with the curse words that the hose-reel induces.
  4. Seeds or Plantlings
    Nope, not a word, but it should be. Trees have "saplings" for babies, so why does the young tomato plant get "transplant" as a nickname? That's not endearing. Whatever you're doing out there in the great outdoors today, grab that.

*Special note for #4. If you're going through the trouble of making a garden, purchasing seeds, and caring for them all season, go ahead and spend the extra 20 cents and spring for the organic seeds. Seriously? You don't think it's "worth it" to avoid some genetic modification and pesticide exposure for 20 cents? I'll see you in the clinic.


So, why isn't there a #5? What about those gardening gloves? Let's break down the reasons that most people purchase and wear gardening gloves. First, you probably hate dirt, and you don't want it on your beautiful hands. OK. Let's just stop there. The dirt is your friend, and it would like to do you a service. Get out of its way!


Sink your beautiful bare hands into the dirt, and you could be rewarded with Myobacterium vaccae, a friendly bacteria that stimulates the release of serotonin in your body. This is awesome. Serotonin is known as the "happy hormone," because of its role in elevating mood and decreasing anxiety. Read more about the benefits of dirt for your health in this article by Therapeutic Landscapes Network.


Now get out there, toss your gardening gloves in the back of the garage with everything else, and get your hands dirty. While you're at it, take off your shoes, too, and plant your feet firmly and comfortably on the earth. This is called grounding, and we humans have been screwing it up by walking around with shoes (mostly ion-reflective rubber-soled shoes) whenever we're outside lately (say, for the past 100 years or so). Don't worry; you can still wear clothes when you go outside -- just leave those hands and feet bare!