There are all sorts of fancy tools out there for the various aspects of gardening — digging, weeding, pruning, or spreading mulch, but when it comes down to it, your hands are as good as it gets. So how do you protect your most valuable tool? Gardening gloves are essential! Check out our tip sheet for ensuring your glove is a perfect fit:

Problem: Hate dirt under your fingernails?

Solution: Make sure the glove's fabric is tightly knit to keep your hands and fingernails clean when you're digging around in the ground.

Problem: Love the feeling of the soil between your fingers, but can't stand it when your cotton work gloves are soaked?

Solution: Look for a snug-fitting glove that allows for total dexterity and wicks away moisture. Spandex/lycra composite gloves fit the bill. Check out these colorful and stylish options from Foxgloves.

Problem: Tired of getting blisters and calluses?

Solution: Wear a gardening glove that has padding in areas that are prone to damage. Look into Bionic gloves (www.bionicgloves.com) for a top of the line comfortable and practical glove.

Problem: Planning on pruning your rose garden, but don't want to get pricked?

Solution: Find gardening gloves that cover your forearm — at minimum extending 7 inches down from your wrist. Consider some of the thorn thwarting styles available at West County Gardener

Problem: Don't want to run the risk of contracting poison ivy, oak, or sumac?

Solution: Look for a glove with full coverage ... from your fingertips to your elbow. The same rose pruning gloves described above can double as a poison protector.