Gardening Basics

Holiday Gift Ideas for Gardeners

By Nina Koziol

The holidays will soon be here. There are plenty of holiday gift ideas for gardeners, friends and family (and maybe even for you). Gardeners can never have too many plants, tools, books, or other items to make their garden a work of art. Here are some suggestions to inspire you.

Garden tools for gift giving

Inexpensive gardening tools have a short life. They often bend, break or rust. Well-made tools cost more, but with proper maintenance, they’ll last for years. What gardener couldn’t use another trowel, pruner, weeder, shovel, fork, rake or hoe? Add a DIY tool-sharpening kit that includes WD-40 (oil), a rasp (for sharpening tool edges) and some coarse sandpaper.

Soil thermometers for an early start

Gardeners in cold climates can start a crop of cool-season greens such as spinach, lettuce, collards, mustard greens, Swiss chard, and kale as soon as the soil thaws next spring. Lettuce and Swiss chard seeds, for example, start to germinate when the top inch of soil reaches about 45o. This is when an inexpensive soil thermometer comes in handy. Look for one at your local garden center or online.

A rain gauge can save water

This useful device shows gardeners exactly how much rain their garden receives so they know how to water wisely. In the summer, when the weather is hot and water quickly evaporates, proper watering is particularly important. Soil typically needs an inch of water a week to keep plants thriving. An inch of rain or water moves downward 6 inches into clay soil, and 8 to 12 inches in loamy soil. Check out rain gauges at big box stores, garden centers and online. There is even a free app in the Apple iTunes store that provides rainfall information for your location via GPS.

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