It’s that time of year.
The holidays are approaching and so is gift giving season. If you have a seasoned gardener or a newbie on your list, you can’t go wrong with a gift that can be used in the garden or has a garden theme.
n Gardeners love their tools! I know I’m always on the lookout for a tool that makes my life easier in the garden.
This year I invested in the Root Slayer hand tool set by Radius Garden. I love my Root Slayer shovels so hand tools that cut through roots seemed like a no-brainer.
The set included the Root Slayer trowel and soil knife. The soil knife is based on the Japanese Hori Hori, one of the oldest garden tools.
Both tools have steel blades that have a long sharp edge on one side and sharp teeth on the other.
They also have the signature Root Slayer inverted “V” blade tip. They arrived just in time for bulb planting.
I found that the soil knife was the perfect tool for planting small bulbs.
The trowel was great for larger bulbs and weeding. I’m sure both will be handy tools for future projects.
n A tool recommendation from Master Gardener Roberta T. is the expandable rake.
There is a variety on the market to choose from. Features include a telescopic handle so you can change the length depending on the job. You can also adjust how wide the tines are spread.
If you need to get in and around shrubs or perennials you can close the fan so that it is smaller and won’t damage plants.
Expand the fan for leaf raking jobs. Close the fan for storage as it takes less room.
If you are shopping for a new gardener, good tools are a must.
The right tool can make a job much easier.
What are the essential tools that a new gardener needs? Here’s my personal list: short-handled round point shovel, hand pruners, loppers, scissors/snips, trowel and watering can.
If you have a vegetable garden, I would add a bow rake and hoe to the list. A spading fork is also useful for digging up bulbs, dahlias or potatoes.
Other items that new gardeners are going to need eventually include hoses, nozzle or watering wand, rain gauge, hand saw, leaf rake, hori hori knife, wheelbarrow or cart, kneeling pads and gloves. The list could go on.
When shopping for tools, there is a big price range. You don’t necessarily have to buy the most expensive one to get good quality, but cheap tools never last long.
Look for stainless steel that won’t rust, sturdy handles and ergonomic options for tools that you will be using a lot. Properly maintaining your tools will add to their life span.
n Like many gardeners, Master Gardener Connie B had a potting bench/table on her garden wish list.
Everyone needs a spot for potting up plants and bulbs, starting seeds or just extra storage space. Built-in shelves and hooks will give you space for your tools and supplies.
Potting benches come in a variety of styles and materials. If you are buying one made of wood, it should be rot resistant.
If you order online, remember you will have to put it together. I’m sure your gardener would appreciate receiving it assembled as much as the gift.
n Vegetable gardeners also like to cook and preserve their harvests.
Pickling and fermentation sets are very popular. They can help you transform your vegetables into kimchi, sauerkraut and pickles.
There are many on the market that are good for small-batch fermentation as well as starter kits to get you going on making your own probiotic foods.
n Winter is always a good time to catch up on garden reading and most gardeners love a good gardening book.
Last winter I read “Nature’s Best Hope” by Doug Tallamy and I plan to read it again this winter. It’s a great follow up to his first book, “Bringing Nature Home.”
Tallamy explains how gardeners everywhere can transform their yards into wildlife habitats full of vibrant birds, butterflies, and insects using native plants. Tallamy’s style is very down to earth and the book is, well, inspiring.
He offers practical suggestions that you can easily do in your own yard or garden no matter the size.
This book recommendation comes from Master Gardener Brandie W. She really likes “Vegetables Love Flowers: Companion Planting for Beauty and Bounty” by Lisa Mason Ziegler.
The book is about planting vegetables and flowers together to create a healthy, bountiful garden. The focus is a bit more on flowers, adding them to your vegetable garden.
She does a nice profile for many specific types of flowers — how to start from seed, when to plant, spacing, harvesting and how they are beneficial. The book is also full of beautiful photos to be enjoyed on a cold winter day.
Other gift ideas from Master Gardeners include cushy kneeling pads or a deep-seat garden kneeler, Radius Garden stainless steel digging fork and Root Slayer shovels, fencing, frost cloth, solar garden lights, self-watering containers, trug tubs, seed starting supplies, bird feeders made from recycled plastics, gauntlet garden gloves and nitrile garden gloves. When in doubt you can always fall back on gift cards to their favorite nursery, a perennial favorite.
Reference in this article to any specific commercial product or corporation is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation of any kind by Genesee County Cornell Cooperative Extension or the Master Gardener program.
Have a gardening question? The Master Gardener office is open.
(Please wear a mask when visiting the CCE office and check in at the reception window.)
Master Gardener volunteers are normally in the office Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to noon. You can stop in at our CCE office at 420 E. Main St., Batavia, call (585) 343-3040, ext. 127, or e-mail them at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join us on Dec. 3 at noon via Zoom for one more Garden Talk this year. Our Master Food Preserver volunteer will be presenting “Gifts from the Kitchen.”