Roof & Walls March/April 2014 - Page 8

ROOF&WALLS gifts for gardeners There is nothing nicer than receiving a gift relating to one's passion. If your loved one's passion is gardening, then show your thoughtfulness by giving a gift that will be truly appreciated. There are so many great gardening gifts that the only constraint is your own budget. TIf your budget is small, go for things like gloves, kneepads or even Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary, How Does Your (Vegetable) Garden Grow? With the costs of living rising all the time, it may be possible to save money and increase your family's health at the same time by growing vegetables in your backyard. It's a good idea to choose your favorite vegetables to grow and plan beds for early, middle of the season and late varieties. Most vegetables require at least 6 hours of sunlight per day, some need 8. Some quick growers like lettuce and radish can be grown between the rows of plants that take longer to mature, like beet or corn, thus making full use of the area available. Throughout dry periods, vegetable gardens need extra watering. Most vegetables benefit from an inch or more of water each week, especially when they are fruiting. During the growing season watch for insect pests. If you discover a bug problem early it will be much easier, but be careful to not use pesticides once the vegetable are close to being picked unless it becomes an absolute necessity. Organic gardening is one healthy and environment-friendly option. Once you have reaped your crop, put the vegetable waste into your compost pile so that it can be recycled for next spring. Pa g e 8 It is important to protect your vegetable garden from wild animals looking for a tasty treat. Make sure your garden is surrounded by a fence that will keep out dogs, rabbits, and other animals. The harm done by wandering animals during one season can equal the cost of a fence. A fence also can serve as a frame for peas, beans, tomatoes, and other crops that need support. a shady hat. A pretty pot (or a watering-can) filled with a small bag of potting mix, a packet of bulbs, some gloves and a small trowel or other tool will be received with delight by most gardeners. There are many hand tools at hardware stores that are reasonably priced. If you feel that is too ordinary, how about a subscription to a gardening magazine? A tiny bit more expensive perhaps, but it will give twelve full months of delight. A book on gardening is another idea, but make sure your recipient does not already have the one you choose. Books are often heavily discounted at Christmas time, so you may get a bargain. On the other hand, a pot that contains a flowering plant is usually a welcomed gift. Be sure to choose a plant that is suited to your climate. Sometimes plants are sent from tropical to temperate zones and kept in artificial conditions in the store. These plants will not do well once taken from their environment. Shrub roses are hardy and attractive and grow in many climates. Tulips do best in the cooler climate. If your budget is strong, a more expensive tool may be appropriate. A pull-trolley is easier to use than a wheelbarrow )