I used to think garden gloves were for other people, not me. Oh, sure, I’d put a pair on to deal with brambles, nettles, and wild parsnip, but, on the whole, gloves kept me from feeling the moist earth and from grasping small weeds near precious seedlings. Most gloves didn’t fit me well enough to actually be helpful; they made me feel clumsy and inefficient. The idea that I should put on gloves to prevent blisters was laughable: they were so poorly fitting they would cause blisters.
But as the years went by, I came to see that moist earth feels wonderful, but once it dries on your skin, it doesn’t feel so great. And I realized that my gardening time is actually pretty fractured. I go out to weed in between other inside chores, washing–and drying out–my hands each time I go back in. I’ve yet to find a nail brush that does a good job that isn’t also a bit rough on my skin.
Ethel Gloves Are Different
And the world of garden gloves has changed significantly in the last twenty years, which is about as long as I’ve been gardening. Witness Ethel gloves. They are designed to fit women, and they are styled to appeal to women. Okay, so I’m not a fashion queen under the best of circumstances. I’m not looking for high style, but I do appreciate good fit. It’s what makes a glove worth using. (Though if the glam factor keeps any of my boys from borrowing the gloves, it’s served its purpose.) I was interested to see that the Ethel sizing chart was based on the length of the middle finger, and not on the width of the hand. For most gloves, when measuring around the knuckles, I am a medium, but with Ethel gloves I am a small. I wonder if middle finger length is a better determinant of hand size for women?
As they have done with many garden bloggers before me, Ethel Gloves sent me a pair to try. I’ve been wearing them for all the garden chores I used to not wear gloves for: routine weeding, potting up containers, pushing compost through the sifter, digging, raking, deadheading. The palm is simulated leather and seems thinner than the real McCoy. If I need to yank out brambles or prune roses, these aren’t the gloves I’d use, but I think they’d be fine for nettles or wild parsnip. And for really close weeding near tiny seedlings that I want to save, I take them off. They are just a little too thick at the fingertips for that kind of precision.
Since I’ve been wearing gloves for just about all gardening chores, my hands feel better and clean up is a breeze. The gloves can be washed, too. Not too long after I received my gloves, my daughter Cadie was given a pair. She also appreciates having relatively clean hands after gardening is done.
Win a Pair of Ethel Gloves
If you decided long ago that gloves were not for you, it’s probably time to revisit that decision. Gloves have changed, and you have changed, too. I’m giving away a pair of gloves to one random commenter, so you may soon have your chance to see if these gloves change your mind about garden gloves. Leave a comment before midnight Eastern time on Friday July 3rd. One comment will be selected randomly. Only one comment per person. Open to both U.S. and Canadian readers. Giveaway has ended. Alina won a pair of Ethel Gloves.
Buy a Pair of Ethel Gloves
If you don’t win, you can order Ethel gloves online here and save 10% by entering the code Climate10. This code is good through July 31, 2009. Shipping is free.