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SKIP RICHTER: Give the gift of gardening this year

Bundle some herbs with an herb book or a group of terra cotta pots. A topiary rosemary can be planted outside after it’s done being a holiday decoration. 

Plants provide a link between people and across time. It may be a seedling from a special tree, some bulbs from the old family home place, a rose propagated from a bush at a grave site or an herb division from your own garden with a note about your friendship. 

The season for gift giving is upon us, and gardeners have a unique advantage. We know the joy of growing things and the way that plants and gardening can provide ongoing interest and satisfaction over time.

Gardening itself is a gift to give, and there are many ways to provide someone else this wonderful experience. Here are a few ideas to consider as you plan your holiday gifts this year, for both the gardeners and the wish-to-be gardeners on your list.

Indoor gardening

Houseplants are hot items ever since COVID left us spending more time at home. Local garden centers offer a nice variety of choices, while hard-to-find species can be purchased online. Check a plant’s light requirements, and when in doubt, go with lower light-tolerant species.

A windowsill herb garden may be a great fit for a bright kitchen window. Place a few herbs in small terra cotta pots and set them in a long narrow tray to catch any excess water.

If you want to take it up a notch, an indoor plant-growing system may be the perfect gift. These come as a tabletop system with grow lights. Often, these units are hydroponic or at least self-watering.

Seed starting indoors

There are a variety of kits for seed starting, from a simple tray with a clear lid to sturdy plant-growing trays with humidity domes that resemble a mini greenhouse for starting seeds and rooting transplants.

Include a bag of seed-starting medium, some seed packets, plant labels and a when-to-plant chart that usually can be obtained free in print or online from the recipient’s local AgriLife Extension office.

Good lighting is the key to growing great transplants, so consider including a light with a stand to help ensure success.

Gardening starter basket

Put together some seed packets, plant labels, gloves, hand tools, hose end watering wand and a simple how-to gardening book written for the recipient’s area of the country. Include some free planting guides from the recipient’s land grant university’s extension system or local extension office. For an attractive package, place it all in a harvesting basket or gardening tool bag.

Share your garden

I am struck by the number of times a gardener has said, “That plant was given to me by an old friend,” or “This rose came from a cutting we took from my grandmother’s home.”

Plants provide a link between people and across time. It may be a seedling from a special tree, some bulbs from the old family home place, a rose propagated from a bush at a grave site or an herb division from your own garden with a note about your friendship.

You get the idea. The possibilities are limitless for giving someone a living reminder of your friendship or a connection to family history that will last long after all the other gifts of the holidays are gone.https://8d6fdb908466db4cd903b38ca49a6ab1.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

A theme garden

Bundle some herbs with an herb book or a group of terra cotta pots. A topiary rosemary can be planted outside after it’s done being a holiday decoration. Gather plants and/or seeds for a butterfly garden and include a book on butterfly gardening. How about a group of seeds/plants along with a book on cut flower gardening? Perhaps a bird house or feeder?

Give gardening wisdom

Every gardener has something to learn and those new to gardening may enjoy a book or magazine on the basics. Printed materials are great for sharpening their skills over the upcoming weeks of winter in preparation for a great spring garden.

Look for materials that are written for their area, as garden writing is often very regional in application. We have many great books and magazines written by Texans for Texas to choose from, such as Doug Welsh’s Texas Garden Almanac or Neil Sperry’s Lone Star Gardening. A magazine such as Texas Gardener is another good example.

An exception to “read local” rule would be topics that are not region-specific such as how to propagate plants or prune a tree.

Quality equipment and accessories

A good quality tool will last for years and make gardening work easier and more enjoyable. I appreciate well-made pruning shears, a quality spade or garden fork, a cobrahead weeder, a soil knife (hori hori) or a specialty hoe. Accessories such as a kneeling pad — or my favorite, a folding kneeling/sitting bench — are nice, too.

Gifts of your time

In addition to giving a plant, you can give the planting. Some folks may be physically unable to do some gardening tasks. With your gift plant, include a coupon good for “planting this rose bush and visiting over a cup of coffee.” That time spent will be more important for many folks than any store-bought gift they received during the holidays.

This holiday season give gardening, a gift that will grow in the hearts of your friends and family.


Robert “Skip” Richter is the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Horticulture Agent for Brazos County, 2619 Texas 21 W., Bryan, Texas 77803. For local gardening information and events, visit brazosmg.com. Gardening questions? Call Skip at 823-0129 or email rrichter@ag.tamu.edu.

How many gifts can you give that keep giving and bare fruit? Why do you think gardening and indoor gardening has become so popular during COVID 19? Which plants do you currently have indoors (houseplants)?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Protection & Precaution Gardening Tips

15 Most Useful Gardening Safety Tips - Precautions and Protection

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Protection in the Garden
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Gardening is indeed a wonderful thing to do for many reasons. Its contributions to good health are our favorites. What did you learn from this video? How will this help you garden better or simply move better without encouraging injury? Who do you know that can benefit from knowing this information?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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How to make a Kids Garden

HOW TO MAKE A KIDS VEGETABLE GARDEN

Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook
How to Make a Kids Garden
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

We hear MiMi has started a few flowers. We will see if we can get an update. It is amazing how the things children learn stay with them for a life time. What better thing to teach them than sustainable gardening and providing their own food? In the above video there are simple yet great tips for teaching kids how to garden. What can you learn from teaching a child how to garden? Some gifts are priceless and last a life time. Have you considered giving the gift of a garden? How do you think children can benefit from learning how to garden? Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Garden Watering

10 Smart Watering Tips for Your Vegetable Garden

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Garden Tips on Watering
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

We really liked these watering tips. They echo some of the practices we have been sharing in our articles. They also show how you can water plants in and outdoors in a sustainable and efficient manner that is healthy for the plants. We like sustainability and efficiency because it supports organic, natural and environment efforts while saving money and resources. It makes smart use of the resources we have. How will you water your in and outdoor plants diffidently? How has this caused you to look at plant care differently? Did you learn anything new? What are 2 tips shared in this video or in our articles that you can apply to watering your plants? As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing your comments and photos. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today.

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Saving Time in the Garden

Garden Sprayer

We do not have many big tools in our garden tool box but, we have a few key tools that have begun to save us a ton of time. The sprayer pictured above is holds a gallon. It pumps the air out of the container and you hold the lever down for a continuous spray powered by air pressure. The more pressure the more liquid sprayed. There are sieves to filter the liquid so, what you put in the container must be fairly liquid. For things that are less liquid like our ground pepper and water mix we use the water can. We can more than cover our garden space with 2 passes of the water can. The holes in the water can are larger and should be able to hold most mixtures you apply to your garden.

Besides watering the garden, we also fertilize on a regular basis. We have also been applying different mixtures to the soil and plants to discourage pests. You will find that your Organic Remedies are less processed than chemical remedies and, thus may require a water can or sprayer that can hold a less refined liquid.  Thus far the water can, oscillating sprinkler and sprayer are all we need to apply what we need to the garden as well as save time. The most expensive item was the water can because we opted for metal over plastic. There is always something to do in the garden so, anytime we can automate or save time in a manner that makes financial sense for our size garden we do so.

Did you know that you can use wooden paint stirrers to stake smaller plants? Do you know how to stake a plant? Read our article “Stake Holder” dated May 9, 2020 to learn more about staking. Curious as to how you can save time in your garden? Just Ask! Did you know that you can get globes that water your house plants as needed? All you do is fill the globe. Want to know more? Just Ask. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep growing.

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.