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47 Great Gifts for Gardeners!
Hold OntoYour Gardening Hats! I'm GonnaDeliver 47 Holiday Gift Suggestions in 286seconds!

Oneof myfavorite YBYG shows this year featured Nashville singer, songwriter andgardener Adrienne Young and her band Little Sadie playing some greatgarden-inspired tunes from their CD live in our studio. Anygardener—and/or fanof fine singing and picking—would enjoy a copy of that CD, "Plow tothe endof the Row."  (Bonus: Listen to an MP3 of her newholiday song, "Just like Christmas":

Speakingofplowing, that time is coming up. If the gardener on your listdoes itall EXCEPT start their own plants, consider a seedstarting set upor some of the individual essentials, like a heating mat ('bottomheat'really gets those seeds up fast!), good strong light for aftertheysprout (I recommend a regular old shop light with a pair of four footlong 40WCool White florescent tubes; most 'plant lights' are too dim), and anice lightseed-startingmix or the individual ingredientslike perlite,vermiculite and peat—or "coir", the new shreddedcoconutfiber replacement for peat.

Thoseplants will get eventually get hungry, and no gardener ever hasenoughblack gold, so have a load of high-qualitycompost or mushroom soildelivered (sneak over after they dump it and put a bright red ribbon ontop!)or if they're smaller-scale, some compostina bag. Come to think of it,a compostermakes a great gift too—I like the ones made ofcedar slats; but bins, tumblers, spinners and the likeall havetheir merits. Oh, and if you're short on cash but worked hard thisFall,present a couple bags of your finest well-shredded leaves forthem touse as mulch and compost makings!

Leaves! If someone on your listis aburner or a trasher, give them a leaf blower/vacuum/mulcher withacollection bag; these machines make shredding and storing leaves acinch!

Soiltestsconvey tonsof useful—and just plain fun—information, but lots of gardeners don'ttakeadvantage of the high-quality, low-cost testing offered by most stateextensionsystems. So contact your local county extension office and buy apre-paidmailer or two. Or get a kit, fill it up yourself, send it in and thenmake up anice certificateon your computer that explains you've alreadysent their dirt off for divining! Or just cut to the chaseand buy them their OWNsoiltest kit--one they can use over and over again to see how they'redoing

(Typeyour state and the word "extension" into your search engine to locateyourstate office; their site will list all the local offices and likelyhave lotsof soil test info.)

Let'ssee…what else…if they have fruit trees, some horticulturaloil for themto apply over winter to kill pests; and some "Surround"clay spray todeter new pests from those apples, peaches and such in theSpring.Oh—and a new sprayer!I need a new sprayer; and sodoes every gardener—maybe severalsprayers so they can label eachone for different uses instead of having to clean the same one out allthetime. 

Mole,vole,gopher or armadillo troubles?  Wrap upone of the castoroil repellants that chase away burrowing beggars.Mosquito misery every summer? Some BTIto treat standing water (seefootnote # 1 below), a garlicspray (see footnote # 2) tosafely fog outdoor areas, or a MosquitoMagnet to keep the wholeproperty clear! (See footnote # 3) Oooh-oooh! And some ofthose deerfly patches you put on the back of your cap to trap thosenastybrutes before they bite. And a box of "Daminex tick tubes"(seefootnote # 4) to place around their property to stop mice frombringing thosedangerous pests into the landscape. Mice! They're crawling intohomesright now to escape the cold—and they can total a greenhouse overnight;so some"MiceCubes" or other 'better mousetraps'. Let's see; where are we?Only31 so far?! Time to rev it up!

I'm alwayscaught short in the Spring, so big packs of snow pea,lettuceand spinachseeds would be tops on my list (and they'd remind me thatSpring IScoming!) Oh—and spunpolyester row covers to warm the soil and startthat Spring a little early! Oooh—or a cold frame withanautomatic vent; they just plain BEAT the seasons. A good pairof prunersor lopers—winter is the season to do a lot of that work—andmaybe ahow-to guide, like Lee Reich's "The Pruning Book" (TauntonPress) sothey make kinder cuts. 

No gardenspace outside? A couple of mushroomgrowing kits  will allow themto still grow some of their own food—in the middle of winter!And theycan even make their own compost if you get them a wormbin to turn theirleftovers into Garden Gold!

Maplesyruptime is right around the corner. If they've been talking abouttappingtheir trees for years, make it real with some taps, tubes, andbuckets.If slugs are their biggest garden menace, some pet-safe but slug-deadlyironphosphate pellets. Or some slugtraps and a case of cheap beer!(Do they still make Iron City? Jax? Ortlieb's? Piels?)

Oh, and I love those Christmastree shaped rosemaryplants you see for sale this time of year. They look fabulousdecorated,they smell great—and you can harvest lots of fresh rosemaryandstillhave a nice big plant to put in the garden come Spring. (Checklocalnurseries and high-end supermarkets; I see them all over the place, solook—andask!)                      



Oh no—we'reout of time? But I didn't get to mention the BEST garden giftof all—mybrand new book from Abrams, "Kitchen Garden A to Z", with bigbeautifulcolor photos by my good friend Gordon Smith and all the info they'llneed togrow, harvest, store and use a bevy of enviable edibles! Available atbookstores and websites every…. 


…where.Ohdarn. Well, maybe next time.

Footnote # 1: BTI

BTI is theworld's bestdefense against breeding mosquitoes; and its completely non-toxic toeverythingelse! The 'BT' stands for Bacillis thuringensis—a group of naturalsoil-dwelling organisms. The 'I' stands for israelensis, the specific'strain'of Bt that kills baby mosquitoes (and blackflies!) before they canleave the wateras biting adults.  Available as granulesor floating 'dunks' and briquettes, BTI doesn't affect people, pets,birds,fish or other wildlife. Your doggie can drink 'Bt ed' water withoutharm. Andeach treatment lasts a full month! Apply it to ponds, garden waterfeatures,and any other standing water in the area, and you'll have MANY feweradultstrying to suck you later.  Some of thebrand names BTI is sold under include Skeetal, Vectobac, MosquitoAttack,Gnatrol, and Bactimos. I found my big yellow plastic shaker jug of"DexolMosquito Free Granules" at a local hardware store, and I've seen thegranulesand dunks at lots of garden centers. Mail order: Peaceful Valley FarmSupplysells Bactimos dunks (a six pack) and briquettes (a 20 pack of whatlooks likethe same dunks). Call them toll free at 1-888-784-1722 or click on  "Mosquito zapper" ( both. Here's the link to the granules.Here'sthe link to the dunks.

Footnote #2:Garlicfoggers

Research hasshown that thepests avoid areas where high-concentration garlic sprays have beenused. Onesuch product I see in a lot of retail stores is Victor's "MosquitoBarrier";but there are lots of other brands out there as well, most inready-to-usehose-end sprayer bottles; just check and make sure that "garlic oil" istheactive ingredient.  Spray it on your yardthe day before a big party or other outdoor event and the garlic smellwill goaway after a few hours, but the mosquitoes will stay out for 2 weeks!

Footnote # 3:MosquitoMagnet

You've seen thesedevicesall around — they mimic humans with a chemical attractant calledoctenol and byusing a gas-grill sized propane tank to create the same carbon dioxideweexhale; then the machines trap the attracted skeeters by sucking theminto anet.  The 'Defender' (the cheapest modelat around $300; protects half an acre) and 'Liberty' (around $500;¾ of anacre.) Both require electricity. The Pro size (over $1000; protects afullacre) is self-powered; no cord. They're all widely available, retailandmail-order. The Frontgate catalog sells all the Mosquito Magnetmodels—including a few we didn't have time to mention: 1-800-626-6488or's adirect link to their (extensive!) Mosquito Magnet section. AND the company thatmakes theMagnet, AmericanBiophysics,sells reconditioned machines at a discount—really good prices and freeshipping!

Footnote #4:DaminexTick Tubes

Many of theso-called 'deerticks' that carry Lyme disease never see a deer; but virtually allspend partof their life attached to field mice. That gives us an opportunity tokill theticks while they're still on the mice, before they can try and feast onus—witha commercial product called Daminex Tick Tubes. Sold in sets of 24, thecardboard tubes contain cotton balls soaked in permethrin, a pesticidethat'sdeadly to ticks, but very low toxicity to humans. The mice take thecottonballs back to their nests to use as bedding, and the permethrin killsany ticksin the nest. Daminex tubes are available at some retail outlets, andyou canget them mail-order on the web at garden-shops.comor viaphone by calling a very dedicated supplier toll-free at his B& B:866-401-9455 ("Chase House").

YouBetYour Garden   ©2004 Mike McGrath

HelpfulProducts FromGardens Alive! - On Sale NOW!
Give your Gardener the Gifts they have been wishing for!

GreenGuard TM Plant Growth Enhancer
Improves the Health and Boosts the disease fighting power of everyplant inyour garden or home. Using Harpin Green Guard stimulates your plantsgrowthwhile building there defenses from disease.

Neem-AwayTMInsect Spray
Stop larval development...insects die before they molt!
Neem-Away repels Japanese beetles and aphids from your roses and keepsthemaway.  

BioBoostTMAll-Natural Biostimulant
Activates soil organisms and enhances plant growth. This exciting,all-naturalproduct will work wonders in your garden!

Improvessoil tilthwhile boosting plants' vitality
100% pure Kelp Meal improves soil texture and fertility, andincreasessoil's capacity to retain moisture.

EdenRichTM Plant-Based Fertilizer
Plant-based Eden Rich promotes healthy, vigorous growth
If you prefer a vegetable fertilizer that contains no animalby-products, EdenRich is for you! Tests show that this unique plant-based fertilizeroutperformspopular commercial fertilizers made from animal by-products.

NaturalBeginningsTM Seed-Starting Mix
Promotes stronger,healthier seedlings
Use thisoutstanding soil-less growing medium for all indoor seed starting andwhenrepotting large, fast-growing plants like tomatoes.