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What do you get the gardener who has everything?

By William Terry Kelley
University of Georgia

Another holiday shopping season is upon us, bringing the age-old dilemma of deciding what to buy that special someone who loves gardening. What do you get the gardener who has everything?

Well, maybe they don't quite have everything yet. Let's look at a few possibilities and some tried-and-true suggestions.

The easiest thing that comes to mind is a nice gift card to the local garden center. Every gardener will be buying seeds and fertilizer for the spring crop, so a gift card might come in handy. There are tools that need replacing, too, and maybe a few other necessities and gadgets they can choose from.

If you're just not the gift-card type, consider more specific gifts.

Take a look

It might behoove you to check out the tool shed to see if a hoe, rake or spade is in disrepair. This is the perfect time to give a new garden tool to replace the one with the handle held together by tape or nails or broken off so short that only your 3-year-old grandson could use it.

There are all types of weeding gadgets on the market, too. And various three-piece hand tool sets normally include a trowel, garden fork and cultivator. Newer ones have extensions that fit around the wrist for added comfort.

And what about personal protection gear, such as a new pair of gloves or a pair of coveralls? What about a wide-brimmed hat or one with a covering attached to protect the ears and neck? This keeps your special gardener from being exposed to too much sunshine.

For those who use pesticides, disposable rubber gloves, a face mask and some goggles would be appropriate, too.

Think of the gardener

What about something to make gardening more ergonomic? A nice set of knee pads, a kneeling pad or a gardening stool are all useful for any of that close-to-the-ground work.

In fact, one gardening stool is made to wear. It attaches to the gardener with a harness and allows hands free movement around the garden. A coil spring on the bottom cushions the seat and allows the gardener to plop down just about anywhere.

For the more technically advanced, electronic meters help monitor soil pH, moisture and fertility. For under $40, you can equip your favorite gardener to quickly determine whether more fertilizer or maybe some irrigation is needed.

Speaking of irrigation, how about a new garden hose or sprinkler? Kits are available for under $100 to set up drip irrigation in the garden. Drip irrigation is more efficient. It helps reduce diseases by keeping the foliage dry while providing moisture right at the soil surface.

Compost

Does your gardener use compost? A plethora of composting aids is available, from simple wire mesh bins to polyurethane compost tumblers made from recycled plastic. There are collapsible bins, food composting containers, biodegradable composting bags, compost thermometers, choppers, turners and even books on how to do it.

Finally, consider a rain barrel to collect natural irrigation water, a garden cart for transport or maybe some hand lotion for the end of the day. Don't forget the postharvest gifts, such as salad choppers, pressure canners or freezer containers, either.

If your gardener has all of this, never fear. There's always room for a new garden gnome somewhere. Happy holidays.

(Terry Kelley is a Cooperative Extension horticulturist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

(Terry Kelley is a former University of Georgia Cooperative Extension horticulturist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

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