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Consider these gifts for gardening friends

We’re now officially in the Christmas season, and holiday shopping is in full swing. So, instead of an ugly sweater or a pair of reindeer socks, consider gifts that the special gardeners in your life could use in their landscape and garden.

So, here are what I consider some nice gifts for the gardener.

Books

If you have a gardening friend who likes to read on those winter days that aren’t suitable for working outside, then a book is in order. There are lots of gardening and landscaping book choices, but one of the most fun gardening books I’ve read is “The $64 Tomato: How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for the Perfect Garden.” That’s quite a long title, but, in my opinion, it sums up the adventures and misadventures many of us have experienced seeking garden perfection.

Share the harvest

One of the most fun gifts I give is sharing the harvest from my home vegetable garden. My wife and I share the harvest bounty all summer, but it gets a little harder during the holiday season. There are not many people I know who would be thrilled opening a Christmas gift package containing a bunch of kale or Swiss chard — kind of like getting that gift of Underroos. But what about homegrown and ground spices?

This year for gifting, I grew my own paprika peppers and dehydrated and put them through my spice grinder. My paprika looks and tastes just like the stuff in the little jars at the grocery. And it is far fresher than the store-bought product. I also grew and ground gorgeous Dinosaur kale and Big Jim New Mexico and jalapeño peppers. Someone is going to be doing a culinary happy dance on Christmas morning.

Gardening tools

If you want to encourage your gardening friend to grow you some delicious fruits and vegetables, gifting them a quality garden tool is a good idea. I’m not much of an in-ground gardener, but a tool I have to make easy work in that vegetable bed is my Rogue Hoe.

You may be thinking that giving someone a hoe is not much of a gardening gift, but you are so wrong. Rogue Hoes are made from recycled agricultural tempered-steel disc blades. This means they will keep a sharp edge and make any garden chore so much easier. There are lots of styles, with long handles and smaller hand models. I have several of each.

Last resort

Now what to do when you really get stuck and can’t decide on the perfect gift? Almost every garden center I know offers gift certificates. While this may seem like taking the easy way out, it actually allows the gifted garden the opportunity to get exactly what he or she needs.

With a little thought, you can rest assured your favorite gardener won’t be regifting anything next year.

Gary Bachman is a professor of horticulture at the Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi.

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