A popular commercial for a brand of underarm deodorant implores the user to “never let them see you sweat.” Meanwhile, in a gag from an old Three Stooges short, Moe does a mock commercial for Gritto, the soap that gives your hands that dishpan look. “How,” he asks, “will the old man know you’ve been working if your hands don’t have that dishpan look?”
So what does all of this have to do with gardening? Both of the above can be viewed as two different philosophies. If you don’t want people to see you sweat, then it probably means that you don’t do very much labor in your garden. Because if you were, then believe me, you’d be sweating! Gardening is not easy. It requires liberal amounts of muscle power to dig, plant, cultivate and harvest. And all of this activity is just naturally going to bring on sweat. So if you can’t stand the idea of people seeing you sweat and get dirty, yet you wonder why your garden isn’t yielding very much, guess what? If you want a garden that yields a bumper crop of sweet, crunchy, nutritious fruits and vegetables, then you’re going to have to sweat to make that happen, and occasionally people are going to see you sweat.
On the other hand, if you are willing to sink your hands in the soil and it doesn’t bother you that your hands occasionally have that dishpan (or should we say garden trowel?) look, then more often than not, your labors will bear fruit and vegetables, and lots of them.
So if you’re a brand new gardener and you’re worried about getting dirty and sweaty, then you may as well stop before you start. If you garden, then you will sweat and your hands will, on occasion, become rough and dirty. But if occasionally getting sweaty and dirty is no problem for you, then your dream of fresh nutritious produce is very much within your grasp.