GIFTS Inexpensive and Just Plain Cheap
The gift-giving season is fast approaching. Here are some of my favorite garden
tools and accessories. You might
like to wish for yourself or present one to your gardening friends. They might even be considered cheap -
if they weren't so useful.
stuffers can be as pricey as gifts under the tree. Look for inexpensive packets
of seeds that would make a hit with a gardener and maybe make a gardener
out of a youngster. For the young
and young-at-heart, slip sunflower, bean, and zinnia seed packets into the
stockings. These are all easy to
grow and are quick to send up little sprouts for those anxious 'Little Sprouts'
in your house. If you give the Pole Bean 'Asparagus Yardlong', your little one can sow it around the
base of a pole teepee and grow his or her own hiding place. Give a gift of gardening and you will
give a gift of fun that can last a lifetime. Find seed packets at Burpee.com, Parkseed.com,
Reneesgarden.com, johnnyseeds.com, and garden centers. $1.00-$4.25
Velcro Plant Ties have been with me in
my garden for the past two years.
The Velcro strip comes on a roll.
They are easy to tear into usable strips and are simple to use when you
have to hold and tie a balky plant by yourself. You can wrap and push the tape onto itself with one hand
while you hold up the plant with the other hand and/or your head. (Contortionists make good
gardeners.) Their added benefit is
reusability. When the garden is
put to bed, pull the ties apart and save them for next year's climbers. Find Velcro plant ties at Amazon.com,
Parkseed.com, and some hardware stores or garden centers. $3-$6, depending on how large the roll.
I was given the 7 in
1 Planter's Buddy garden trowel from Ames Tru Temper to trial and it has
stolen my gardener's heart. The stainless
steel blade has a serrated side that cuts open bags of potting soil or slices
through matted root balls. You can
use it to cut off a plastic pot that won't give up its tenant. Its rubber handle is soft enough for a
small hand to grasp but sturdy enough for a big mitt. The trowel blade is long and skinny, with inches marked
along its stainless steel edge so that I can see the depth I am planting. Do your plants flop? The notch in the Planterís Buddy blade
makes short work of cutting string (or Velcro ties) to bind up those flops. One side of the blade is sharpened for
cutting through sod. There are
even uses for the handle end and digging end. The handle butt is a tamping tool. The pointy end has a notch for digging out those tap-rooted
weeds, like dandelions. It even
digs little holes, just like any other trowel. I always grab this one on the way to the garden. Lowes.com, Acehardware.com $12.98-$17.99
serious minded gardener should be without plant markers. The trouble with most labels is that
either the names wash off or the squirrels play 'move and bury the tag'. Squirrel Proof? Is anything? There are metal ones made of zinc or copper, which last for
years and are anchored with long staple-like wire legs making them difficult
for critters to remove.
gardens with well-mannered wildlife, there are also seed packet holders, which
will hold an empty packet for a garden season. (SOW-U-KNOW Packet
markers, $7.25/5 Burpee.com.) Wood
or plastic markers are also available on line and in many garden centers.
I prefer the metal markers. Zink
markers from Parkseed.com have a nameplate that is 1-1/4 inches x 3-1/2
inches. The stakes are 11-1/2
inches long. $12.95/25. I especially like the copper markers I received as a gift a
year ago. These come with 10-inch
support stakes made of strong wire. The label face is 1 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches wide. They are very classy setting at the
base of a shrub or tree. Even a
lowly evergreen hedge takes on stature with a copper nameplate. Copper plant markers $7.95/10 at
Although all of these metal plant markers come
with 'indelible' pencils, I much prefer to use a plastic label I stick to the nameplate. Grease pencils and permanent marker
pens fade quickly. Pencils last
the longest on wood or plastic labels.
Weather will eventually take its toll. So far, my plastic labels are not fading at all outdoors.
Dymo LetraTag label maker has been a
great addition to my gardening basket. It is hand-held so I can carry it into the garden and punch
out labels on the spot. I have
used mine to label almost everything in my garden and for labeling seeds and
bulbs planted indoors. I did read
that some people were having trouble with the print getting light and
fuzzy. If this happens, just
change the batteries. It is a
thermal printer and needs power to print.
I'm on my sixth roll of plastic tape and it is still printing just
fine. Maybe this is a good
recommendation for the Energizer Lithium batteries I have in the unit? Dymo LetraTag $18.89-$26.87 at
Amazon.com & Target.com and in office supply stores. White plastic tape $2-$8.49 at
Amazon.com, Officedepot.com, Officemax.com, and office supply stores.
November 20, 2009---