Finding the right gift for family and friends is nerve-wracking.
While they don’t want this process to be stressful, it’s nice to find something they would enjoy. Taking the time to find the desired gift helps you stick to the budget instead of grabbing something last minute at a higher price.
Plant-themed books make great gifts for adults and children. Dr. Winston Dunwell, extension professor for nursery crops at the University of Kentucky, has reviewed many types of gardening books, from commercial applications to home use.
A printable source of scientific information is available in the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service Free Publications and can be found at any county extension office or online at https://daviess.ca.uky.edu/horticulture. Topics include composting, trees, flowers, fruits, vegetables, sod, and more. Organizing printed material in a binder keeps the information in place.
Growing vegetables in raised beds continues to make vegetable production in your garden more accessible. Kits are available for purchase or DIY. Four feet wide is the suggested maximum bed width.
The best bed length depends on available space, money and time. A frame to support the floor can be constructed from untreated wood, stone, concrete blocks, brick or recycled plastic panels.
The ground can also be mounded without a rigid structure. Naturally rot-resistant woods include cedar, redwood, and locust. Even beds high enough to avoid bending over can be made or are available already made.
Supplies specifically for growing transplants are useful gifts. This can be a light stand, bulbs, heating mat, seed starting medium, seedling containers, trays for collecting water, a plastic dome. plastic to retain moisture and a timer for the lights to manage the appropriate day lengths needed for seeding.
Even if a person has to wait to plant them, a collection of vegetable, herb, and flower seeds helps them anticipate the next growing season.
Zinnias, sunflowers and marigolds are easy to grow and can be sown directly in the garden. Vegetables, such as spinach, lettuce, peas, beets, beans, and cucumbers, are also easy to grow direct seeded in the garden. Tomato, pepper, eggplant, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower should be sown indoors and transplanted into the garden when the time is right.
Gardening gloves for working together in the garden are useful for the whole family. A pair of rubberized gloves is best when working with muddy jobs. Two pairs of cotton gloves are also handy so one pair is always ready while the other can be in the laundry.
To perform other gardening tasks, pruning shears and saws are used to maintain shrubs and trees. The bypass type pruning tool has a scissor cutting action that cuts the stem cleanly without crushing it. Pruning saws are designed to cut on the pull stroke. The blades are narrow to fit in tight spaces while making clean cuts.
Hand pruners are used to cut stems up to three-quarters of an inch in diameter. Two-handed shears cut branches up to 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter. Pruning saws are recommended for removing branches larger than 1 inch in diameter. Following these guidelines will prolong tool life and provide good, clean cuts that are better for the plant.
Spading and spading forks are useful tools for turning garden soil. Garden forks have four thick, rectangular or square tines. They are used to break up heavy soils that have not been disturbed. The spading fork has four flat tines which can have diamond or triangular backs. They are used to turn loose soil. Other uses for both tools include turning compost and digging up root crops.
A battery operated timer for irrigation lines or soaker pipes saves water by keeping it running all night when someone forgets to turn off the water. It is also practical when you go on vacation for a few days.
Making a compost bin would be another gift idea. Composting garden waste makes it a good amendment to improve the condition of the soil. Compost bins can be very elaborate and wooden, or very simple and wire. Ideas for making compost bins and how to compost are available free through the Cooperative Extension Service office or on the website http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agcomm/pubs/ho/ho75/ho75.pdf.
For more gardening gift ideas, contact the Daviess County Cooperative Extension Service at 270-685-8480 or [email protected].
A gift certificate purchased now from a local garden center or nursery can be used in the spring for suggested items such as a wide-brimmed garden hat, decorative pots, fountain or bird feeders. The recipient could also use it for their favorite plants.