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Skaggs: Gifts for gardeners on the ‘good’ list

POSTED: December 12, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Now that Black Friday, the supposed busiest shopping day of the year, is behind us, do you have your Christmas shopping wrapped up?

As for me, my wife says we're done. For you husbands out there fortunate enough to have a bride who takes care of the shopping, thank the good Lord for her! And, don't forget to get her something nice.

For many of you, I imagine you still have much to do. With the current economic situation, most folks are trying to shop conservatively this year. If you're looking for gardening gifts, you're in luck - many are quite affordable.

The easiest thing that comes to mind is a nice gift card to the local garden center. Every gardener will need those spring supplies such as fertilizer, seed and mulch, so a gift card might come in handy. There are tools that need replacing, too, and maybe a few other necessities and gadgets they can choose from.

Something to read? Every gardener can enjoy how-to-garden and reference books on those chilly, winter days. They can use these throughout the season, too.

A few authors to look for include Walter Reeves, Allan Armitage, Tara Dillard, Michael Dirr and Joe Lamp'l. In particular, look for books that have been out for a few years and are available in paperback.

What about something to make gardening more ergonomic? A nice set of knee pads, a kneeling pad or a gardening stool are all useful for any of that close-to-the-ground work.

In fact, one gardening stool is made to wear. It attaches to the gardener with a harness and allows hands-free movement around the garden. A coil spring on the bottom cushions the seat and allows the gardener to plop down just about anywhere.

A garden gnome costs as little as $30 and is supposed to bring good luck to the garden. Another great idea for you cost-conscious shoppers is a weather calendar or a copy of the Old Farmer's Almanac. Both are less than $10.

Does your gardener use compost? A plethora of composting aids is available, from simple wire mesh bins to polyurethane compost tumblers made from recycled plastic. There are collapsible bins, food composting containers, biodegradable composting bags, compost thermometers, choppers, turners and even books on how to do it.

It might behoove you to check out the tool shed to see if a hoe, rake or spade is in disrepair. This is the perfect time to give a new garden tool to replace the one with the handle held together by tape or nails or broken off so short that only your 3-year-old grandson could use it.

There are all types of weeding gadgets on the market, too. And various three-piece hand tool sets normally include a trowel, garden fork and cultivator. Newer ones have extensions that fit around the wrist for added comfort.

Finally, consider a rain barrel to collect natural irrigation water. With our ongoing drought and water restrictions, "water harvesting" is almost a necessity.

To get an idea of what types of rain barrels are available commercially, Google "rain barrels" and search one of the 847,000 sites available. Locally, the Chestatee-Chattahoochee Resource Conservation and Development Council offers rain barrels of various sizes at a reasonable price.

Billy Skaggs is an agricultural agent and Hall County extension coordinator. Phone: 770-531-6988. Fax: 770-531-3994.



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