Yesterday I came back from the garden with the first full basket of the season: radishes, peas, strawberries, lettuce, borage, and herbs. I also came back with a big smile: the tomatoes and zucchini are beginning to blossom. This means more produce soon, and also, more time spent working in the garden - summer is such a busy and hard time for a gardener's hands!
A gardener's hands are tools, and need to be taken care of as much as the garden and its plants. Dirt (and horse poo manure and compost!) must be scrubbed away after gardening, of course. But also, little scrapes and minor cuts must be helped to heal, and skin and nails need conditioning, as well as being cleansed of all the the stains that come from working with plants and dirt.
If you garden, making a gardener's hands scrub paste is an easy and natural, not to mention inexpensive and quick, way to take care of your working hands day in and day out. Here's how I make mine:
Gardener's Hand Scrub
- 2 cups sea salt (in addition to its antibacterial and exfoliating properties, sea salt sooths skin)
- ½ cup fresh rosemary, finely chopped (a good antiseptic and an excellent wound treatment)
- zest from 1 organic lemon (for its antiseptic and bleaching effects, especially when combined with sea salt)
- ⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil (olive oil's polyphenols and antioxidants make it an effective and economical emollient and moisturizer with anti-ageing properties)
- ½ cup vegetable soap, grated (I use an olive oil based soap, like Castile soap)
Mix all of the above, and store in a light-proof and air-tight container (otherwise the olive oil will go rancid, making your scrub smell bad and removing many of its positive skin properties).
A dab on your gardener's hands, then rub and scrub (a nail brush will help), wash and rinse off the excess with warm water, and finally massage the remaining oil into your hands.
It's a beauty treatment, a cleansing massage, and an aromatic, natural way to keep your gardener's hands in good shape. Try it!