What would be the perfect Christmas gift for each of the gardeners on your list this year? I mean true gardeners, people with a passion for cultivating and nourishing the soil, those who do their own digging and planting. What would they really like for Christmas?
For that very special gardener, give a pickup load of steaming composted goat manure, personally delivered in early spring, as soon as the soil can be worked. A promised pile of this aged mix of manure and barn litter is sure to bring a smile to any serious gardener’s countenance on Christmas Day.
Lynne Ahlblad and Barbara Brooks, owners and operators of Seal Cove Farm, have gift certificates for the finest goat manure compost that money can buy. Come spring, you or the recipient of your gift can pick up the “black gold” at their farm, located in Lamoine on Route 184, and meet the goats, all at 2008 prices. Be sure to call ahead, 667-7127, so Lynne and Barbara know that you are coming.
For the gardener who prunes, consider a personally assembled pruning tool care kit. It should include a sharpener for the blades of hand pruners and loppers, a small can of oil (Felco 980 spray or 3-in-1 motor oil) for lubricating the moving parts of pruning tools, several balls of steel wool for removing rust and pitch, a bottle of isopropyl alcohol for sterilizing tools after each use, and a spray bottle for the alcohol. The sharpener and oil should be available at garden centers or The Felco Store, www.felcostore.com/.
The best gardening gloves Marjorie has ever owned, made by Atlas Glove, have rubber palms and fingers for a sure grip and a Nylon backing that keeps her hands dry. She came by hers at a garden show, but they are also available from several online suppliers. She also swears by Gardeners Hand Therapy Cream (Crabtree & Evelyn) for conditioning work-roughened hands.
Any serious gardener will appreciate a roll of natural jute twine, at least 500 feet or more. It has dozens of uses around the garden, from tying up tomato plants to binding beanpoles, and it is biodegradable. Pieces too short to be saved will rot eventually, or find their way into birds’ nests.
Equally essential to any garden are bamboo poles and wooden garden stakes, 6 to 8 feet long. There are never enough, as the old ones get shorter every year.
A roll of Velcro self-gripping tape to use as plant ties will make any gardener happy. Find it at Gardener’s Supply Co., www.gardeners.com/, or your favorite retailer.
A native bee nest box is a gift that keeps on giving, ensuring pollination of garden flowers year after year. Directions for making your own nest boxes can be found at http://gage.unl.edu/ag/
BeeBoxes.htm#plans. Ready-made boxes are available at several online stores and are starting to show up at local retailers.
Give the serious composter on your list a bale or two of straw (not hay, which contains weed seeds), a few bags of dry shredded leaves, or a truckload of seaweed, collected above the high-tide line, of course, to be delivered in spring.
Say “Merry Christmas” to your gardening better half with a “Dig-A-Bed” coupon, redeemable in spring. The words “without complaining” should be written on the coupon. This would be a true gift of love.