Here are my top 5 recommendations for garden gear that I personally wear.
With over 20 years experience working as a professional gardener and landscape designer, I have tried most brands on the market for shirts, hats, boots, gloves etc. These items are the ones I have found to be the most practical, useful and long wearing. They aren’t the prettiest, most stylish items, they are the ones that will help you get the gardening done in the most comfort and also providing you with protection from the sun and those spiky plant parts or garden critters you don’t want to touch.
Lets be honest, when you are gardening, it’s not a fashion show, it’s about getting the job done. If you are doing 40 plus hours of garden maintenance or landscaping (in the hot Aussie sun) a week, you need to consider what tools you use to make that job easier and I think the garden gear you use personally is a key way of making sure you work efficiently and effectively.
I have tried cotton, linen, polyester and a mix of material blends. All have their own advantages, however I have now found a shirt that really ticks all the boxes for me. They are the Syzmik work shirts. They have a good fit for me with length in the back but not too much that you have to wear them tucked in always. They are long enough to cover your back when bending down over garden beds. They are 100% polyester, which I thought I would not be a fan of, but it means the shirts are light weight and with vents they allow good air flow. The fabric is UPF 40 plus which is very good for sun protection. The sleeves are able to be rolled up with tabs and buttons to secure them in place. The extra material on the collar at the back allows you to lift the collar up to give some extra coverage to your neck for sun protection. They wash easily and are quick to dry. They are available in both women’s and men’s sizing.
Yes, I do love a broad brim straw hat but when you are getting into heavy duty garden maintenance or if you happen to be working whilst there is a shower of rain, you don’t want to have to stop and put away your hat because you don’t want to get it dirty or wet as it will get out of shape and possibly shrink. Plus I have found it hard to buy an off the shelf straw hat as sizes are not always avail- able. If you get into custom straw hats they get a bit pricey and not something you will want to get wrecked. I also love being able to wash my hats, which of course you can’t do with a straw hat.
I keep my lovely straw hats for consults and light garden work at home. I have been a baseball cap wearer for years for work, but I was finding my ears were getting burnt too easily. These 100% cotton broad brim sun hats are great! They tick every box with a variety of sizing available to suit every head. They slip on enough to allow me to wear my hair up in a pony tail. They give good sun protection to face and cover your ears plus the fabric is UPF 50+. They have a draw string to hold them on your head in windy conditions. They are washable. They are inexpensive.
There are hundreds of gloves on the market, all varying in quality and price. I would normally say spending some- where between $10 - $15 per pair will get you a decent pair. I like the Showa brand because they have good protection but not so much you can’t feel what you are doing. The other brand I like are the gar- den gloves ALDI sell. They have slightly thicker material all over. Both have a va- riety of sizes available.
The key things I look for are:
Number 4 and 5 continued in next month’s column.
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