When soil becomes very dry it wants to absorb moisture. If the garden hasn’t been watered in a while and you start digging in it with your hands, the dirt will pull what moisture it can from your hands. This is especially true when using dry potting mix that comes in bags. S.E. Smith over at xojane.com shares how to garden without getting gardener's dry hands.
How To Garden Without Getting Gardener's Hands
So I’ve been working in the garden a lot lately, and on the production farm, which is great because yay flowers and vegetables! I have really missed grubbing around in the dirt over the last few years and I am glad to have a chance to get outdoors more, and to get off the computer for a few hours every day.
However, there is a downside: Gardening tends to completely trash your hands.
It’s not just that your hands can start to look like crap after extensive gardening, with large cracks, embedded dirt, splitting nails and calluses. They also feel really unpleasant; your skin feels dry and stretched. It’s uncomfortable. You start to become reluctant about shaking hands with people.
I think people expect my hands to feel soft and smooth, because I’m a writer, so I don’t do that much outdoor work. But I garden enough that my hands roughen up fast, compounded by chronic eczema which takes advantage of any and all opportunities to blossom across my hands, spreading the gospel of cracked, flaking skin with red, raw, irritated edges.
Wear Gloves Is The Answer
This is key. Wear gloves when you garden. All the time. And make sure they fit properly. I am totally guilty of “just doing a quick little thing” without gloves, and my hands hate me later. Don’t be me, kids.
Get a couple of pairs for different kinds of projects. I have a thin pair of Atlas Nitrile Touch gloves I really like for tasks where I want to be able to feel what I am doing:
Just like being naked! Only not.
Hand Salve Like You’ve Never Salved Before
I love this Burt’s Bees hand salve because it’s goopy, messy, oily and delicious.
Tip: Keep your salve next to the sink to glare balefully at you as a reminder to use it.
Ideally, you should apply hand salve before bed and wear clean cotton gloves to help your hands soften overnight. This also helps limit the amount of hand salve you will smear all over your house. You should also apply it before you start gardening, to keep your hands moisturized, soft and flexible while you work. When you’re done gardening and you’ve washed your hands and thoroughly patted them dry, salve them up again.
You may find it helpful to try a couple of salves or body butters to find one that works for you. Above all, remember to use it regularly, and again, consider keeping a few containers around so there’s always one handy.
Being a gardener is no excuse for ooky hands!