Nevada gardeners do a lot for our community. They beautify our landscapes, keep our homes and landscapes cool in summer, protect water quality, fight invasive pests, support pollinators, minimize erosion and provide fresh, nutritious produce. Their efforts reduce food transportation impacts, keep organic materials out of landfills and increase property values. With the gift-giving season on the horizon, now is a good time to appreciate the many benefits of having gardeners in our lives. Highlighted below are a few gift ideas for your special gardener, but feel free to branch out. Cooperative Extension does not endorse individual companies or products; there are many other great garden gifts out there, and some of the best are homemade.
Help your gardener overcome the challenges of our extreme temperatures, water limitations and geologically young soils through educational gifts. Books like Water-efficient Landscaping in the Intermountain West teach gardeners how to develop, install and maintain water-smart, beautiful and healthy landscapes in our climate ($25, Cooperative Extension, 4955 Energy Way in Reno).
Another way to give the gift of horticultural education is through an American Horticultural Society Membership. Membership lasts all year and includes access to The American Gardener magazine; free admission and other discounts at gardens, flower and garden shows, and symposia across the country; an annual seed exchange that includes rare and unusual seeds; members-only online content; and more ($35, www.ahs.org/join).
Careful garden record-keeping increases garden success by identifying ideal planting, pruning and harvesting times; keeping track of crop rotation to preserve soil nutrients and reduce pest problems; and providing a list of what grows well in the Nevada microclimate your gardener calls home. Give your gardener a diary like the My Garden 5-Year Journal to track garden victories, remember lessons learned, keep checklists and discover helpful tips ($19.95, www.gardeners.com).
Technology-savvy gardeners can use a smartphone to update and refer back to garden records and checklists while on the go. Master Gardener Christy Chamberlain uses 2Do, an application available on Android and iOS smartphones, to create seasonal checklists and organize garden notes, photos, websites and contact information for each to-do item ($6.99-9.99, www.2doapp.com). Purchase a gift card to the Google Play Store for gardeners with Android phones or to Apple’s App Store for gardeners with iPhones to allow your gardener to download 2Do or other gardening-related apps.
Gardening is wet and dirty work, but aprons like The Roo Gardening Apron protect clothing and make outdoor chores cleaner and safer ($32.95, www.roowholesale.com). This apron carries garden waste and harvested produce in a water-resistant, easy-release pouch that leaves both hands free to operate tools and climb ladders safely.
Keep your gardener’s feet comfortable, clean and dry while preventing garden slips and falls. Gift your gardener shoes with heavy-duty tread, like the Sloggers Garden Trekker Ankle Boot ($34.95, www.sloggers.com). These 100% waterproof boots feature a removable and washable insole for comfort and easy cleaning. The elastic instep and pull-tight strap provide a secure fit.
When temperatures are too low for even cool-season vegetable growing, gardeners can use their talents indoors to green-up gray winter days with kitchen gardens and houseplants. Tabletop aquaponics systems like the AquaFarm gift gardeners a space-conscious, attractive way to grow leafy greens and herbs indoors year-round through a combined plant growing area and fish tank ($59.99, www.backtotheroots.com). The fish provide nutrients to the plants, and the plants clean the water for the fish.
Gardeners with limited indoor horizontal growing space can still enjoy the gift of indoor gardening through systems like the GroVert Living Vertical Garden ($39.99-139.99, www.uzplanters.com). Look for living or green wall planters with top irrigation and bottom drainage components. These items can be purchased separately to build a custom wall planter, or packaged together like the Framed GroVert Living Wall Kit.
No matter which plant-related presents you give your gardener this season, Cooperative Extension is here to help. Gardeners and landscapers can attend spring classes and talk with Master Gardeners to increase their growing success.