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Every Gardener Needs…..

January 14th, 2012

Up until last year I have never owned a pair of rubber boots. Perhaps I did when I was little, but I don’t remember ever having a pair and I’m pretty sure I’d have memories of rubber boots! As a very frugal person, I really dislike spending money on things I don’t think I need, so I put off buying boots for the longest time. I finally broke down and purchased them, mostly for photos actually, but then I realized what an important tool they are!

I wear these boots ALL THE TIME, and I’m not joking. I wear them around the garden so much that I can’t remember what I used to wear? They come in so handy when it’s raining, snowing or in the muddy messy days following snow or rain, which is pretty much every day here in NE Ohio. They’re also very handy because you can slip them on and off very quickly and easily, thus saving me few valuable minutes every time I need to run to the compost, out to the garage get something, or down to the mailbox.

The funny thing, these boots became working boots instead of photo props, these are some of the few photos they’ve cameoed in. If you were reading back when I talked about the footwear I used to wear in the garden you’ll know how much better these are!

If you don’t have a pair of rubber boots, I cannot recommend them highly enough. I believe they are a tool that every gardener needs!!!

Do you wear rubber boots around the garden? What is a tool you’d recommend that every gardener own?

39 Comments to “Every Gardener Needs…..”
  1. karlin on January 14, 2012 at 6:07 am

    Yeah, I agree that boots are the #1 tool and pruners would be #2. My garden friend all through my 60+ years has been a good set of pruners. I carry them with me through the garden to deadhead, shape, harvest, and tidy up. I have a pair in the garden shed for the backyard and another pair in the garage for the front yard.

    Although I just recently discovered your blog I will certainly continue to follow it. I think you’re doing a great job. Love all your photos, content and recipes.


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    • Susy on January 14, 2012 at 8:29 am

      Thanks Karlin – glad you found me! I too have a set of pruners I carry everywhere, though I’m thinking of switching to a good knife instead.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  2. Beegirl on January 14, 2012 at 6:55 am

    Years ago I picked up a pair of dark green Hunter brand boots at a garage sale in Virginia for $2. Best pair of boots I ever owned. They lasted about 10 years before they died and I had had to look for a new pair. Came across Muck boots on sale at the local Tractor Supply. LOVE THEM!! Warm in winter with the neoprene tops, dry, and double as kayak gear when we put-in remote places without a boat launch. I prefer the ‘tack’ style boot-narrower ankles. Love your blue boots!

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  3. daisy on January 14, 2012 at 7:09 am

    Handsome boots! They do seem so utilitarian!
    Pruners are my best friend around the garden here.

    Reply to daisy's comment

  4. Joan on January 14, 2012 at 8:04 am

    I wear my Muck Boots almost every day, year round! We have some wet/swampy areas on my property, so they are great when I walk my dogs. They’re great in the garden (though the big treads track lots of muck), They’re great to go to the chicken coop because I don’t care what I step in… I couldn’t live without them.

    I just bought a second pair to keep at work. I work for a land trust and am out in the field quite a bit, so having a pair at work saves a trip home to get my boots when I forget them or didn’t know I’d need them any particular day.

    They’re not cheap, but they are well worth the money. I love your blue boots though – they are much more attractive than mine!

    Reply to Joan's comment

  5. Kathi Cook on January 14, 2012 at 8:10 am

    I don’t own a pair yet.but I should get some. I couldn’t live without my hiking pants. I wear them to garden in. They are breathable,somewhat water resistant,stretchy, and they have lots of pockets.

    Reply to Kathi Cook's comment

    • Susy on January 14, 2012 at 9:48 am

      Oh yes, a comfy pair of pants is also a valuable tool. Mine are usually a pair of jeans that is no longer fit for the public!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  6. tami on January 14, 2012 at 8:35 am

    Boots are on my wish list this year. I’ve always used whatever old worn out tennis shoes I had that were laying around. But you’re right. I want something that I can slide on and off easily. Do you wear boots in the summer or switch to a “crock” type slide?

    My favorite garden accessory is a peck sized woven basket. Weeds, veggies, flowers, tools…It’s my carry-all. Love it!

    Reply to tami's comment

    • Susy on January 14, 2012 at 9:10 am

      I was the same – old tennis shoes (see this post about my previous garden footwear). I actually wear Keen flip flops (the Waimea Sandal specifically) in the summer, they’re tough, comfortable and I like that they protect your toes, I just rinse my feet with a watering can if they get too dirty.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  7. Allison on January 14, 2012 at 9:04 am

    I have the ‘Muck Boots’ and i love them. I am on my second pair in 6 years and I LOVE them. I can wear them outside in below zero weather w/o socks while I am in the barn and my feet stay toasty! The only thing is…come late Spring, sometimes my feet stay too warm in them so I was looking to invest in another pair that weren’t so insulated.

    Reply to Allison's comment

  8. Fawn on January 14, 2012 at 9:06 am

    I used to use mine for everything- taking the dogs out, working in the garden, putting the trash out, etc. When we acquired our chickens a few months ago, I found out the limitations to rubber boots. The chicken manure would just get stuck in my boots every single time I went out to tend to the chickens. I had to pull out my 7-8 year old cowboy boots with no grips or anything on the bottom for this job. I’ll have to see if they make rubber boots with less grip than the ones I have.

    Reply to Fawn's comment

    • Susy on January 14, 2012 at 9:13 am

      Mine don’t have that much grip, which is one of the things I really like about them. I do hope to someday have a little porch area so I can leave them out there instead of in the laundry room.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  9. Andrea Duke on January 14, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Same here. I bought a pair after my Beekman obsession began and wear them all the time in fall/winter. Mine are embarrassingly muddy right now!!
    In the summer, I am a flip-flop 24/7 outside girl :)

    Reply to Andrea Duke's comment

  10. Denimflyz on January 14, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Same here, muck boots and my pruners and a small handy plastic bucket for weeds, dead-headed flowers etc. Usually in my back pocket and then when I sit down with a cup of coffee for a break, I sit on them still in my pocket, I’m used to them.
    Right now, we are in a “very” dry January for Nebraska. No snow at the moment, so no “muck” to swim around.
    Great post this morning.

    Reply to Denimflyz's comment

  11. Allison on January 14, 2012 at 9:47 am

    Yeah, I love mine except in summer, those babies can get hot! You’ll need rubber boots even more when you have chickens. There’s no way I’m going in the coop without boots on my feet. Especially in winter when the bedding is really high. So gross.

    Reply to Allison's comment

  12. Sierra on January 14, 2012 at 10:11 am

    I love my rubber boots too! My husband made fun of me when I first bought them and always says I look like I’m ready to go to the jungle. I agree with a previous comment…very hot in the summer, but I still used them while digging in the garden.

    Reply to Sierra's comment

  13. Jessica on January 14, 2012 at 11:11 am

    Love my boots! I don’t use them much during the dry, hot summers here (Maryland – we’ve had pretty dry summers since we moved here 4 years ago). But in late winter and spring when it’s still chilly and wet, they’re lifesavers. I’m in them nearly every day then. I have a separate pair I use for rainy days out in town (they don’t get caked in mud like my gardening boots.)

    Reply to Jessica's comment

  14. Amy on January 14, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Oh, golly! I live on a farm in wet Western WA. I didn’t “get” the appeal of rubber boots, either, until I needed them, and boy, do they ever get a workout! My DH was addicted to his as a little boy, and wore them everywhere, needed or not. He’s already worn out his Xtra Tuffs so needs another pair.

    I, like you, used to garden in clogs, or, when it was really hot, these cheapo hot pink Crocs knock-offs. Last year, trying to pick tomatoes in the clogs in really fluffy, rocky soil, I realized I really hate getting my feet that dirty! I keep wool inserts in my boots to keep my feet warm, so those would have to go in summer, but it would sure be nice to keep my feet cleaner. (Although, dirty feet would equal a reason to make one of those cool pebble-lined foot washing boxes!)

    Reply to Amy's comment

  15. goatpod2 on January 14, 2012 at 11:44 am

    I wear rubber boots all the time not just in the garden either because I live on a farm!


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  16. Daedre Craig on January 14, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    I have a pair of rubber boots that I bought while do field research in Panama. I think I got them for like $8 US (Panama uses U.S. currency) and they were my saving grace during that field season. I found room to pack them in my suitcase to bring them back to Michigan and now they are my gardening/chicken keeping/snowblowing boots. I love them.

    Reply to Daedre Craig's comment

  17. KimH on January 14, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    I’ve got a couple pair of cute rain boots that I wear for quick outside trips in wet, muddy weather, including mucking around in theyard/garden and snow shoveling. I dont put too much wear & tear on them though.

    I also have a super heavy pair of chemical resistant rubber boots I got when I was a Hazmat Tech a zillion years ago ;) , but I havent used them in years. If I need them though, they’re there.

    Reply to KimH's comment

    • KimH on January 14, 2012 at 12:49 pm

      I forgot to add my favorite garden tool.. I have an ancient pair of pruners that I love, nothing new can take their place, but if I only could have one tool for my garden use, it would be my stirrup hoe. ♥♥♥

      I got mine at Sears, but I first read about them at Johnny’s Selected Seeds many years ago. Here is a link and there is a quick video on the page that shows how wonderfully they work.

      Reply to KimH's comment

  18. Lona on January 14, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    They are a must have here in the winter. I have an old pair that looks just horrible but I hang onto them. LOL! Hope you did not get too much snow up that way. We finally got about three inches here total.

    Reply to Lona's comment

  19. risa on January 14, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    We have had ours for forty years. When we gardened on a 1/4 acre place in town we were known as The Boot People. A couple of pair had their uppers wear out and we scissored them off, with a tongue at the back for easy tugging on (important as we are now over 60) and getting a bit stiff), and they are our standard garden shoes for when the clogs won’t do.

    Our most important tool is the ho-mi, a kind of right-angled trowel, superb for all transplant-related tasks.

    Reply to risa's comment

  20. Maybelline on January 14, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    Rubber Crocs clogs are all I ever wear in the garden.
    There are so many necessary tool; but this gardener MUST have lip balm. As for a tool, sharp, clean pruning snips are used daily.

    Reply to Maybelline's comment

  21. itchbay on January 14, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    I have a pair of snow boots that have a zipper, but I can still slip them on and off easily. I’ve been wearing them lately. But I really want a pair of sturdy rubber boots.

    Reply to itchbay's comment

  22. Kelly on January 14, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    I’ve had rubber boots on my list of “to get”s for a while but can never find a pair that fits comfortably around my calves (big, they are). I’ll keep looking, though, and until then use slip-on water-proof shoes.

    My indispensible in the garden is either my pruners or a 5 gal. bucket. I use them as a stool, to carry weeds/tools/harvest/water/dirt/etc.

    Reply to Kelly's comment

  23. kristin @ going country on January 14, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    Rubber boots for the serious mud, rubber shoes for easy on and off. I felt about getting the rubber shoes like you felt about getting the boots, but like you, I wear the shoes ALL THE TIME. Easier than the boots to get on and off.

    Nowadays, of course, it’s all about the snow boots, but the rubber footwear is in use about half the year anyway.

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

  24. Megan on January 14, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    As much as I want a lighter pair, the ones i have are actually from a pair if waders that ended up leaking beyond repair. But the boots were fine so I hacked off the neoprene and I have what I refer to as “chicken poop boots”! I use them for everything!

    Reply to Megan's comment

  25. Jaye Whitney on January 14, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    Without a doubt, rubber boots! More than one pair is good too :)

    Reply to Jaye Whitney's comment

  26. Joshua on January 14, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    Huzzah! I bought my rubber boots for the garden, but they’re so easy to slip on and off, you’ll catch me wearing them to the grocery store sometimes.

    Reply to Joshua's comment

  27. Garry on January 14, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    Thought you might like to read a post I did some time ago on “gum boots.”

    Reply to Garry's comment

  28. Sofie Dittmann on January 14, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    i have a pair of muck boots (“hoser”), which are great also for hiking through streams. alptekin loves them so much that he wants a pair now, too. the only time they suck is when you walk on, say, ice. they are definitely NOT made for that.

    Reply to Sofie Dittmann's comment

    • Susy on January 15, 2012 at 9:02 am

      You’re right, not good on ice! I’m thinking of getting an insulated winter pair with better tread. There is a company that still makes them in the USA:

      Reply to Susy's comment

  29. Wendy on January 15, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    You’ve written down exactly what my experience is/was. For several years I put off buying rubber boots, then couldn’t remember how I’d ever gotten along without them. I wear mine pretty much year round, except for partod the summer!

    Reply to Wendy's comment

  30. Wendy on January 15, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    You’ve written down exactly what my experience is/was. For several years I put off buying rubber boots, then couldn’t remember how I’d ever gotten along without them. I wear mine pretty much year round, except for part of the summer!

    Reply to Wendy's comment

  31. Annie on January 16, 2012 at 12:10 am

    Holy cow! I don’t know what I did before my wellies either but I was the same way. I bought them because we had serious flooding and it turned out they were the best thing for wearing out to the pasture to feed the chickens every morning in addition to gardening and walking through high water. I’d like to get some pretty ones though… mine are just boring and black.

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  32. louisa @ TheReallyGoodLife on January 17, 2012 at 9:02 am

    I somehow missed this post last week but I’m with you and the other rubber boot lovers – I’m not sure where I’d be without mine.

    I bought a pair of Hunters (the Argyll ones rather than the type supermodels wear!) at the start of last winter and I wear them for at least a couple of hours a day, every day, from October to March.

    I love being able to pull them on quickly for dog walks, for chickens chores and for quick dashes into the garden for firewood or what-have-you.

    Reply to louisa @ TheReallyGoodLife's comment

  33. Julie luvs keurig coffeebrewer on January 23, 2012 at 1:56 am

    Very true about boots being important – not just for gardeners, but for anybody who’s going to be spending time in rain and mud or even snow. Wet socks are a terrible experience, after all.

    Reply to Julie luvs keurig coffeebrewer's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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