Dirt Manicure


This is how they will look for the next few months — there’s no fighting it. I must have washed my hands about a thousand times in the last week alone. Just as soon as I get them reasonably clean they’re back in the soil again to put in a new plant or fix a little something. I just can’t get with glove-wearing and only force myself to wear them in the street garden. What can I say? I just prefer to feel my hands working through the soil and touching plants, the dirt worn like a badge of honor pressing from underneath my nails.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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12 thoughts on “Dirt Manicure

  1. Tell me about it. As a gardener, cook, and potter (who really likes to work with dark colored clay), my hands are never clean. You are not alone! Very fun photo.

  2. Ha! I’m glad it’s not just me. I’m not a girly girl. You won’t find my house stuffed with body wash, moisturizers, etc. etc. but I’ve had to start being fastidious about my hands because the soil, the soil I love to run my hands through, is sucking the life out of my hands.

    I have some finger callouses than never get clean now.

  3. It’s the dirt that get in the callouses that stays with me. But if my hands are bad, you should see my feet. Dusty footprints from the back door to the bathroom sink.

  4. Greetings from a public garden in Bristol, RI! After a solid month of full-time planting my hands are paws. I like to call it a “trench manicure”. Ask for it at the finest salons and garden centers!

  5. Too funny! I’ve started my first garden this year and just this morning was feeling embarassed at the state of my hands! Thanks for helping me to see the dirt as a badge of honour instead of a source of embarassment! LOVE your website and your book!!

  6. Beautiful hands!
    I don’t like glove much so I scrape my fingernails into a bar of soap so when i am done the dirt comes out. The hands are always dry despite trying all sorts of gardener’s hand creams.

  7. I find that after I work in the dirt my nails are stronger — like they absorb the minerals straight from the soil. Hell yeah it’s a manicure!

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