Good gift ideas for gardeners“What do you want for Christmas?” This time of year I can never think of anything I really want or need, but if there was a major gift giving holiday the first week of June, I would have a list a mile long.
By: By Carrie Barre-LiBaire, Extension Educator, Alexandria Echo Press
“What do you want for Christmas?” This time of year I can never think of anything I really want or need, but if there was a major gift giving holiday the first week of June, I would have a list a mile long. All I really want is for the growing season to start on the first day of spring and end at Thanksgiving, but that’s not being realistic. So here is a list of some things that may make Christmas last until Memorial Day.
My favorite gardening tool is a good hand-held pruner. A good pair is invaluable, and I don’t venture to the garden without one, because I’ve learned I’ll need it anyway. I have had an old pair that I have no idea where they came from, that I use for multi-tasking. I can open a bag of soil with it or deadhead with it. I’ve never sharpened it and it still works like a champ. And the biggest surprise is that I haven’t lost it, as I’m prone to leave things as I meander around. I do have other pruners – the spring loaded pair for harder jobs and the delicate pair that seems to lock up on me every time I use them, but look nice. No matter what kind you favor, wipe the blades frequently with rubbing alcohol to help prevent the spread of disease.
Another great tool is a small shovel. Not a hand shovel, trowel, transplanter or scoop, but actually a mini-version of a regular shovel. Mine is about two feet tall and the blade is around six inches wide. I can be kneeling and still remove a good amount of soil and it has enough of a lip that I can use my foot to push it through rocky soil. It is so much more productive and easier to use than a small narrow hand shovel.
Of all the hoes and weeders I have, my favorite is an oldie but goodie. It has an inverted triangle for a head and is the best weeder I have ever used. I have used ones that are 50 years old and new ones and they are indestructible, even in old rocky soil. It can also be used to make a nice furrow line when planting seeds in the vegetable garden.
Nitrile gloves are probably the greatest gardening evolution in the past five years. These gloves mold to your hand so you won’t be fumbling around and end up taking your glove off with your teeth. The breathable nylon backing is great, but if you get them wet they fill with water. I have trained myself to take mine off whenever I get near a hose. You just toss them in the washing machine whenever they get too crusty. These have been instrumental in eliminating my problem of having black fingernails of summer.
If you are interested in locating any of these items, feel free to call the Douglas County Extension Office at (320) 762-3890. Enjoy the season!