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My interest in gardening began at an early age. When I was around twelve, I bought a pack of icebox watermelon seeds from my school for a dime. I bought a small paper bag of fertilizer from the local milling company, and it was a dime.
I dug a circle in the back yard, worked the soil just so and planted the seed. All went very well. I think every seed sprouted.
At twelve, I was over anxious. I could hardly wait to see watermelons. I checked that little patch every day.
The vines grew rapidly. Soon, I had a dense cover of leaves. Ever day after school, the first thing I did was go to my watermelon patch, put my hands to the soil and spread back those leaves. I was looking for something, anything. Well, it wasn't long before I saw blossoms. I was tickled watermelon pink!
I continued to check the vines each day, looking for that first little melon. I was like a kid in a candy store. Well, one day something caught my eye. Oh, no! This won't do. Not at all. I saw a large Black Widow spider, right there in the leaves, right where I had been putting my hands every day.
I backed off, turned and went to get a long handled shovel. I intended to smash the widow. When I returned with the shovel, I couldn't find the spider. I was sure I knew just where she was.
I started poking around with the shovel blade. I "will" find that spider. What I found was spiders. They were everywhere. I don't know if Black Widows colonize, or maybe wait until they're about grown before leaving the nest, but, I had disturbed them.
There must have been fifty or more....right in the middle of the patch...right where I had been putting my hands every day.
Yep, I was a bit shaky. I managed to run to the house where I got a garden rake, a tin can of kerosene and some matches.
I carefully kept my distance as best I could and raked all the vines into a pile. I poured kerosene on the pile and threw a match to it. That pile of vines and the spiders with it, were burned to ashes.
As jolted as I was, I soon forgot all the danger I had been exposed to. Children are that way.
Today, I was reworking a spent Vinca bed, making way for a bed of Viola. I like to lift and sift the soil each year. It gives me a chance to remove any cut worms, wire worms, grubs and any pecans the squirrels have planted.
Wouldn't you know, in the dirt I was crumbling with my bare hands over the screen was a big, juicy Black Widow spider. I almost shook hands with her. The back side of my trowel was her misfortune.
I read recently that the bite of a Black Widow spider can make one seriously ill, but is almost never fatal. I'll let you do the research. I don't know and I don't want to find out the hard way.
One thing's for sure. I've learned my lesson. Tomorrow, Doug will don the gloves. I hope all fellow gardeners will do the same.
When I go out to work in my garden, I wear a pair of old scrubs. Besides, being very comfortable, they have many pockets. I put gloves, shears, rags, my phone or mp3 player in them.
Buy an inexpensive pair of rubber garden clogs for working in the yard and garden. They are great - slip on and off and clean up easily with a hose. Not safe footwear for lawn mowing, of course.
The best clothing to wear while gardening is the kind that feels comfortable while you are reaching, bending, crouching, and sitting. Since wear and tear and getting dirty come with gardening territory, the clothing you wear needs to hold up to multiple washings and be at least somewhat resistant to stains. Here are some tips for outfitting yourself practically, and comfortably from head to toe.