Never mind that it’s February and 32-degrees outside. The sun is shining!

Just the blue sky and the winter garden bathed in direct sunlight can make any of us long for Spring and the start of the growing season. For now though, many of us can get our “fix” by preparing for the coming season.

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True confession, I am a bona fide thrift store shopper. So of course, it dawned on me that I could get my garden fix while outfitting myself, fairly inexpensively, in gardening attire that would:

  1. Keep me cool.
  2. Allow movement.
  3. Keep me protected from the sun.
  4. Not attract unwanted attention from bees.

The local thrift store has hundreds of potential garden shirts and pants. Selecting light colored apparel for working in the garden is fundamental to keeping cool. Long sleeve shirts, made of 100% cotton have always worked for farm laborers—especially on the hottest days. Light cotton doesn’t absorb the sun’s rays and is breathable. Plus, bees tend to be attracted to dark colors, so going light is an added benefit. I always wear white or light colors while tending my bees. I couldn’t pass up this fabulous find; the cuffs of this long sleeved shirt actually have a queen bee motif! The shirt was $5.99.

As for garden pants, look for a sturdy cotton blend, one where the knee area will hold up to periodic kneeling. Trousers that have some spandex or polyester incorporated are great for kneeling, squatting or bending, in the garden. Remember, it’s important to have pockets! As a gardener, you’re pick up zip ties or row markers. This makes it easy to stow them. The pants I chose were $7.99. But, because pink tags were half price, they cost just $4.00.

Of course, long pants and shirts guard you from the sun’s potentially damaging rays. Make certain you pair those with a great hat that gives your face protection. The hats at a thrift store are plentiful. I like a cotton, wide brimmed, bucket hat, which I found for $5.99. But it too had a pink tag, making it just, $3.00. The hat, the shirt and chinos can all be laundered in a hot wash, before wearing.

All told, I spent just less than $14, for my new-to-me garden attire. All three items were high-end brands, whose reputation for quality is appreciated.

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As for footwear, I’ve yet to find any garden boots or clogs at the thrift store that would be worth buying. With the money I saved, I’ll always go to my tried-and-true garden clog, available at D&B Supply. They are long lasting, so comfortable, offer great support and are waterproof. Plus, they are crazy cute!

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According to the American Cancer Society, more Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer each year than all other cancers combined. I’m one of those statistics. So as a gardener, by protecting my skin with my (new) garden attire, I’ll avoid another diagnosis and stay cool and comfortable.