Gardeners are pretty easy to buy gifts for. If you are having difficulty thinking about what to get for your favorite gardener, here are a few suggestions.
If your gardener is under five foot six, most long handled tools are hard to use. There are shovels and forks just the right height for "shorties" but you will need to hunt for them. They will be more expensive of course. Here are a few more expensive ideas.
For the one who gardens outside in pots, a pot truck. This has a base with a long handle attached to it. It works just like the "truck" used to move appliances. It will cost about $70.00,
How about a battery powered pole saw. They are much easier on the neck and back then the normal pole saw. Expect to pay about $150.00 for a good one. A lightweight wheelbarrow is always handy. Even better is a large folding cart. It is advertised to haul up to 300 pounds. It should be for $300.00. If there are plants on every windowsill, a plant table to collect them all, especially if you have a large window to park it in would be nice. Or a plant light under the top shelf to light the bottom shelf. About $250.00.
A greenhouse, of course, is the top of the list for many gardeners. A permanent one will cost from $10,000.00 down. Charlie's Greenhouse and Garden sells the smallest one, 6X8 for about $2,000.00 It has an aluminum frame, a roof vent and places to hang plants from the frame. A nice alternative is their spring house. It's a pop up that folds into a three-foot-wide bag for the winter. It’s 6X6 and only 6 foot 4 tall. This, like any portable, must be tied down.
If you are handy, build your gardener an outside potting bench. Ideally it should be about six feet long, 30 inches wide and have a small sink in one end. Hook the sink up to the garden hose and you're in business. Add a covered box for a large bag of potting soil for convenience. While you are at it, build a lighted starter bench. This is simply a bench with two or three shelves depending on how much room you have, with plant lights under each shelf. The lights need to be on chains so they can be moved up and down as needed. Or you can buy one from about $375.00 to $950.00. One thing you won't really need is special grow lights. They have a purple color. A regular fluorescent bulb, that has a blue light, and a “bath and kitchen” fluorescent is pink tinged. Put them together and you have purple.
How about a water barrel? They go under the downspout and collect rainwater, perfect for watering your plants in the hot, dry summer. They come pre-assembled or you can make your own. There are kits available for the DIY’er in the family.
If your gardener makes compost, a worm factory would be a nice gift. This is a multiple layer worm bed. The worms start in the bottom bin and work their way up. When they get to the top the bottom is compost and worm poop. This costs about $90.00, worms extra at $35.00.
For a few gifts that are easier on the pocketbook: a gift card for their favorite nursery or garden catalog, an ergonomic hand tool or an ergonomic handle for their favorite rake or shovel. Or a new long handled tool with a fiberglass handle, no slivers. An envelope with cards with chores you will do for your gardener costs nothing but your sweat next summer. See? Easy.
Bev Johnson Master Gardener.