Dirt on Gardening

The holidays are a great time to make life a little sweeter for the gardener in your life. Here are few things that are useful and fun to give if need to find a gift or two for someone that enjoys spending time in the garden.

Bluestone Garden, www.bluestonegarden.com, is offering a worm bin that includes everything but the kitchen waste to feed the worms. Vermicomposting is a great way to create organic material for use in the garden. This stackable bin on legs comes with worms and an illustrated guide so you will know how to turn your kitchen scraps into valuable compost.

A digital soil analyzer is a really handy device for measuring soil pH, temperature and other nutrients. AM Leonard, www.gardenersedge.com, has a handheld analyzer with batteries included. Simple to use and easy to store, this device can take some of the guessing out of gardening.

Most gardeners are also bird lovers, and the three-in-one heated birdbath is a great way to provide water for the birds in the winter. This birdbath can be mounted to a four-by-four post on a deck or fence. A thermostatically controlled 75-watt heater keeps water from freezing down to -20 degrees Fahrenheit. The basin is 13 inches in diameter and holds two quarts of water. Available through the Wild Bird Habitat Store, www.wildbirdhabitatstore.com.

Bats will eat their weight in bugs, including mosquitos, so they are also welcome in most gardens. Polly Products, www.pollyproducts.com, has a bat house constructed of polyethylene plastic that is moisture and mildew resistant. The three chambers of the house can accommodate up to 150 bats. The house is made to be mounted on a building or a post in a sunny site, 10 to 15 feet off the ground. The house meets all of the criteria required for a house by Bat Conservation International.

Leaf Claws are oversized plastic claws with hand grips. The claws are a great way to extend reach and increase the quantity of leaves, clippings, mulch, etc. that can be picked up at one time. The claws are a back saver and a much more efficient way to move piles of yard detritus. The claws are also available from Gardener’s Edge.

If you’re looking for something pretty and functional for someone that enjoys having potted plants indoors and out, check out the copper indoor watering can from Gardener’s Supply, www.gardeners.com. Made of steel and covered with a hammered copper finish, this three-quart watering can be left on display when it’s not in use.

And if you’re looking for stocking stuffers, don’t forget gift cards to your gardener’s favorite places to purchase seeds, plants and bulbs. New gardening gloves, containers of Osmocote, and hand salve are also always welcome.

Questions or comments related to gardening? Contact Joleen at missourigardener@hotmail.com

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