March 21st, 2009
Lightweight Gloves

MaxiCool garden gloves
Gloves for people who hate to wear gloves. (Like me!)

Dear Mrs. Obama,

I’m so glad that you’ve taken spade in hand and started a vegetable garden in your new back yard. Whatever the reason–taste, economy, education, relaxation, health, exercise–a vegetable garden is a great thing to have. You’re setting a wonderful example for your daughters and the country. I hope that more people follow your lead and tear up a bit of lawn for some vegetables. That would be one way to raise our Gross Domestic Product. More produce. Wouldn’t it be great if we once again became a nation of producers instead of consumers?

But I digress. I’m really writing because after the initial burst of happiness and pride in seeing you and all those school children digging up the White House lawn, my second thought was, “Where are Mrs. O’s gloves?” (I wasn’t the only one.)

Now I hate to wear gloves and my hands show it. But you have important responsibilities hosting visiting dignitaries and the like and it wouldn’t do for your hands to look like mine, caked with black clay, the grubbiness embedded in my cuticles and under my fingernails. The dirt is as much a part of me as I am part of the dirt.

So may I suggest some gloves? I’ve found the perfect pair–perfect in that I can wear them and forget I have them on. I can dig around and pull out roots and rocks because I can actually feel them through the gloves. The touch is so delicate that I can transplant tiny larkspur and bluebonnets.

They are Cool Mud gloves by Little’s Good Gloves.

I don’t work for Little’s Good Gloves or PIP USA (who seem to be the manufacturer. No one sent me these gloves to review. I just walked into my locally-owned, independent nursery The Natural Gardener one day, tried them on and decided that they might do. I was so happy with them that I went back and bought a second pair after I wore out the first. For me, it’s these gloves or none at all and I’ve gardened too many years with no gloves at all.

These are, as the title indicates, lightweight gloves. I wore out the fingertips on my first pair clawing at rocks. They definitely are not made for that. They won’t protect your hands from nails in the ground or the pricks of rose thorns, agaves, or yuccas. But for all those more delicate garden chores when you might think “I won’t bother with gloves for this.” they are perfect. One of these days soon, my fingernails might be grub free. Then, I hope, you’ll let me shake your hand.


by M Sinclair Stevens

13 Responses to post “Lightweight Gloves”

  1. From kate:

    Good letter to Mrs. Obama. I’ve never seen these gloves before. I may have to try some, since I haven’t found a pair of gardening gloves that I keep on for more than a few minutes.

    I can hardly keep gloves on my hands either. I love to be able to feel what I’m doing when I’m gardening and I always feel so clumsy when I have gloves on. — mss

  2. From Joy Kingston, Ontario, Canada:

    I am a glove gal .. I also need gloves that are a bit sensitive, but protective, so I can feel what I am doing .. I found perfect ones at our COSTCO .. 6 pair of very good ones for under $20 .. I think I will play it safe and get another package (I have worn out gloves doing the rock thing too .. haha)
    Some gardeners need extra protection because of health issues .. so, well made gloves are essential !

    What kind of gloves are your “perfect ones”? — mss

  3. From our friend Ben in PA:

    Thanks for the recommendation, MSS! (And priceless letter, btw.) I HATE gloves and can’t bear not to feel the soil, plants, etc. with my bare skin. The only time I’ll deign to wear them is when I’m handling prickly stuff and my “thorn-proof” gloves come into play. But these sound great. Good to know!

    Thanks. I’ve been wanting to review these gloves since I bought them and Mrs. Obama provided the perfect moment. The thing I enjoy most about gardening is feeling my hands in the dirt, or touch leaves and flowers. I garden by touch and I hate having that sense muffled by gloves. As I age my hands are getting more and more sensitive. Now that I’ve found these gloves I feel that I can compromise a little: protect my hands and still enjoy feeling what I’m doing. — mss

  4. From Susan Tomlinson:

    I love my gloves–wouldn’t work a day in the garden without them. I usually go through a pair a season, and feel a sense of loss when I have to toss a beloved pair away.

  5. From Linda Lehmusvirta Austin Texas:

    Thanks for the glove tips! I, too, used to eschew gloves, and my hands show it. I started wearing them when I almost lost a finger when I got distracted pruning. I still dislike gloves but feel a bit safer with them, especially since I garden where you never know what a cat or dog might have left in the soil.
    Now about wearing a hat. . .

    On Mrs. O, it reminded me of pictures of Lady Bird Johnson planting a tree. No gloves, either, and a nice suit. But it got people planting trees. Our new first lady may get some people thinking, too.

  6. From Mr. McGregor's Daughter:

    I love these kind of gloves. However, despite always wearing gloves to garden, I still end up with dirt under my nails. I just don’t get it. Am I the gardening version of Pigpen?

  7. From Jenny Austin:

    I hope these gloves do the trick because I might be tempted to buy some. I am absolutely hopeless when it comes to putting on and keeping on gloves. A friend insists that I wear gloves and has bought me 2 pairs so far. A nice leather pair. They were soft and felt good but I soon made mincemeat of them. Then the last pair were very lightweight and felt good but alas they have gone the same way. I have to feel what I am doing and yes my hands don’t look too swift. Fire ant bites, broken nails and dirt under the fingernails. Anyway it was a nice idea to warn Mrs Obama about what is going to happen to her hands.

  8. From Jenn:

    I, too, am a bare-handed gardener. Or at least I was until I came to garden in the toxic sap land of desert plants.

    I have a pair of nitrile coated nylon gloves – I got mine from a big box, and they cost less than $5.00.

    They are the best! I’m most impressed in how they enhance your grip strength – weeds come up, roots and all!

    So now I have two pairs of gloves. Leather for hauling rocks and CMUs, nylon for weeding.

    I’m a believer.

  9. From Annie in Austin:

    Good for our First Lady for boosting the idea of home-grown food and giving the kitchen garden a try, and good for you, MSS, for giving her useful, practical, specific information as she learns about gardening.

    I have several kinds of gloves which like Jenny, I try to wear, because even if you don’t care what your hands look like, you need them in a state where fire ants lurk and the plants have thorns or spines and the foliage on many plants is unpleasantly scented.

    But it’s so hard to keep them on! Whenever there’s been a family wedding I’ve had to hide my hands.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  10. From Lzyjo:

    Aww, That’s such a sweet letter to Mrs. Obama. I think I might just have to try I pair too. They look much better than traditionals. I’ved longed for a tight fitting garden glove that I can FEEL through. Between quilting, cleaning, and gardening my hands are in a terrible state. Thanks for the tip on Maxicools!

  11. From angelina:

    These look like a lighter weight version of the “Atlas” brand ones I wear that I love.

    I love Mrs. Obama. I am so impressed with the vegetable garden she’s planting.

  12. From Diana - Austin:

    MSS – what a fun post. I love MUD gloves, but hadn’t seen these lighter weight ones, so now I will have to go out and find some next week. With fireants everywhere, I don’t garden without them, but am always looking for better-fitting, thinner gloves. Thanks!

  13. From Lennon San Diego:

    Great post. I will have to look at these gloves, sound great