For most of my life I never wore gloves when working with plants. I grew up in a rural area where we grew most of our own food and where planting, hoeing, weeding, harvesting, preserving, and eating were all just part of the circle of life. Having dirt on your hands was as natural as breathing.
Then, a few years ago I was gifted several pairs of gardening gloves. So, I started to wear gloves when gardening. No more dirt under the fingernails, weed-stained flesh, dry skin, or hands covered in tiny cuts. My hands had never looked so clean! It became habit to unthinkingly slip on a pair of gloves as I walked out the back door... until a few days ago.
I was dividing and planting up some seedlings into individual pots. The gloves just seemed a little too cumbersome when handling the tiny stems and fine roots. So I took the gloves off. My potting job became instantly easier. I could quickly separate the young plants. I could feel the texture and moisture of the soil. I was holding new life in my hands. My connection with the earth was complete!
We definitely had it right, out on the farm. From now on, I'll be making a conscious decision about when to wear gloves. I like the feel of the soil, the texture of leaves, and the firmness of stems. What about you? Do you cover up when gardening? ...or do you go bare?