It’s one thing to be tough because you have to to get the job done. It’s another thing to try to be tough unnecessarily due to ignorance or poor planning. Up until a few years ago, I was unnecessarily tough in the cool fall and cold winter months because I was unaware of the clothing available. Now, I know there are several items that I would not be without in my cool weather gardening wardrobe.
Insulated overalls. These made it onto my radar after a few years in Idaho, when I began shopping at D&B Supply for animal food. I assumed they were 1) for men, and 2) they were uniforms, of sorts, for a certain category of job that involved hard labor. Finally, it dawned on me that if I wanted a pair, I could just buy them. Now, nearly everyone in the family has their own pair. Insulated pants are available, too. One of my sons lives in those during the winter, but I prefer the overalls. If I wear them with shirt layers that include a heavy wool sweater, I have greater upper body flexibility than a coat would allow me.
Field jacket. The tight weave of the canvas jackets provides a barrier to the wind, without too much arm restriction. It is easy to layer under them as needed. It is also quite resistant to getting torn on trees and shrubs.
Insulated boots. Slip on, top edge a few inches above the ankle, heavy rubber boots that I bought at D&B Supply. I tried lace-up boots, but I found that sometimes I would avoid going out because of the extra step. Either I already had gloves on, or I was just going in and out quickly. Whatever it was, slip-ons motivated me to be a much more responsible cool weather gardener.
Insulated gloves. If the hands are cold, you might as well be cold all over. Cold fingers hurt and don’t function. Besides, they are SO soft and fuzzy inside. You will want to go out to work just so you can wear them!
Polar fleece headband, or ear warmer. I have a custom pattern I made for these so that there is a wider circle-like area over each ear. The polar fleece is soft (so glad soft is a natural companion to warm…), water repellent, and keeps the wind out. For some reason, I often don’t like a hat on my whole head. Even the best cashmere tends to get itchy on me or there is just no place for my hair and it feels all compacted. (headband modeled by a daughter)
Idaho weather tends to change without notice. Having a wardrobe prepared for the northern winds means easier transitions and more gardening. Make a list and keep your eyes open for what you need. If you are thinking about it, it will be easier to find your sizes (speaking as someone with a family of huge feet). If you can’t afford it all at once, you have time to buy it a bit at a time. Then, show the neighbors how tough you are.