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Skaggs: Fertilizer, seeds may top gardeners' wish lists
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It is one week after Black Friday, the supposed busiest shopping day of the year, and the question is, "Is your Christmas shopping complete?"

For some, the answer may be yes. But for most of us, we still have much to do.

If you're looking for advice on what to get your mother, father, brother, sister, child or even your in-laws, don't ask me. But if you're looking for gardening gifts, I can offer a few suggestions.

The easiest thing that comes to mind is a gift certificate to a 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.

Stooping can be the bane of many gardeners. Garden stools are designed to get you down close to the action without having to stoop, prop on your knees or sit on the ground. This can save muscle and joint wear.

A garden gnome costs as little as $35 and is supposed to bring good luck to the garden. I

f your budget is tight, you might opt for 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 are 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.

Finally, consider a rain barrel to collect natural irrigation water. To get an idea of what types of rain barrels are available commercially, check out the following Web sites: Green Culture, Gardener's Supply Co. and Aaron's Rain Barrels.

Many garden gift baskets are on the market, too. For less than $50, you can get one with such essentials as small garden tools, a rain gauge, seeds and gloves. For less than $100, you can buy the deluxe package that will include the basic tools plus a moisture meter, pH tester and a thermometer.

If all else fails, opt for an obvious gift. You can't go wrong with new seeds for the coming season, a supply of fertilizer or a new garden hose.

A new rake, hoe or spade is a welcome gift as well.

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