Courtesy Stephanie Staton
As late summer fades into autumn, garden chores continue to pile up, quite literally. Whether you’re harvesting late-summer and fall crops or preparing the beds for winter’s slumber, there’s plenty to do in the garden before the mercury drops. (Props to those of you in temperate climates who keep the chores and bounty bumping year-round! At least there is an end—however fleeting or ill-defined it may seem—in sight for the rest of us.)
I’ve been considering the best way to tackle those mounds of pumpkins, loads of squash and bushels of apples and have come to the conclusion that the best way to get the job done is to not roll up your sleeves and get to work.
Like many gardeners, I appreciate the advice of my wiser predecessors and even take heed of it—most of the time. But every so often, I let my impatience to complete a task get the better of me. Case in point: A bout of hot, humid weather clouded my brain one muggy afternoon as I eschewed the sage recommendation to wear long sleeves to harvest veggies from the garden. Two hours later, a case of blotchy, itchy skin was soothed only by cold, running water, a harsh reminder of my ill-fated attempt to circumvent the most basic of gardening rules: Use (or in this case, wear) the right gear for the job.
Taking two minutes to don the proper attire and suffering a little extra heat from the additional 12 inches of fabric seemed like too much fuss in the moment, but it could have saved me the arduous and humbling task of kicking myself later. As with most of the duties and activities involved in farm life, a little preparation goes a long way. So whether you’re scheduling a veterinarian to visit the farm, sowing a grain crop for market or rehabilitating a dilapidated barn, do yourself a favor by taking a deep breath and properly arming yourself with the tools you’ll need to succeed.
And don’t forget to wear long sleeves!