Others, however, worry too much about the filth of their clothes, their grubby nails, and the panic of seeing a pet. Adults do not differ much from little ones when it comes time to open earthen bags, pick pots, lay stones, and lay down layers of soil and manure to sow or transplant.

For first-time gardeners and gardeners who don’t want to wear gloves or find them unnecessary, but want to prevent finger grubbing later, I recommend using a thick, Vaseline-based cream to seal the pores. This will make it easier to wash your hand then with soap and a nail brush. The best tip is: what does not come out with water, comes out with oil. Yes, because the oil emulsifies and dilutes the fats in the soil.

Another recommendation is to line your hands on the most commonly used parts with a few layers of adhesive, very thin and porous, that looks almost like a piece of paper. It will prevent the formation of blisters and corns. Also, keep in mind that some care with body movements can prevent back pain.

Try to use the right tools. For example, if you are drowning soil with a hoe, be aware that there are different sizes and shapes. The small ones are for already unpacked lands. Diggers may have short stems for use in raised pots and beds, or they may have long stems for use in trunks (ground grooves where seeds are sown)  at ground level.

There are also big ones with thick ropes to open new windows and dig deep grooves. When using the hoe, always try to make short, repetitive movements, distributing the weight and force of your progress on a tripod between your feet and the tool. Keep your spine erect by flexing your knees and hips.

One tool will not fit all. The ideal is always to have in hand string, pruning shears, gardener’s shovel, scarifier (for fluffing and removing stalks and fibers from the soil), a rod (for drilling holes or tutoring plants). These are some of the necessary tools. There is little known that serves to extract deep roots of grasses, such as Tiberias and other plants of tangled growth. It is a forked rod with a wooden handle. By sinking it next to the plant to be removed, it cuts the deepest root, making it easier to control for longer. If you live in an apartment, you don’t need so many tools. A good shovel, pruning shears, and scarifier is good enough. And for those who don’t mind sinking their hands into the earth, go for it. This is one of the best therapies there is. Try it!

Time to get your hands dirty… or not!

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