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Don Kinzler, Growing Together and Fielding Questions columnist. The Forum

Christmas gifts for gardeners

FARGO — Have you seen the latest thing in gardening gloves?

Each fingertip has a large, curved, plastic claw, so you can dig, rake and plant without any other tools, according to the advertisement. They look a little scary to me, like something a peregrine falcon would wear if it were to take up gardening.

Maybe if I had worn gloves more often while gardening, my hands would look nicer, but for now I’ll pass on the claw-tipped gloves. There are other items higher up on my Christmas wish list.

Gardeners are easy to buy for. Who else would be tickled to find potting soil under the tree? And if you want to go all out, add a few clay pots to go with it.

When choosing gifts, don’t worry that a gardener might already have an item. We’d like a second watering can for the upstairs houseplants. And a second pruning shears is always welcome, which we’ll use until we remember where we set our other one.

Gardeners tend to be thrifty, and we don’t always buy ourselves top-shelf items. We’ll appreciate a high-quality gift or tool that’ll last for years.

Many new gift ideas for gardeners are introduced each year. One that caught my eye this year is the Seed Keeper, which is a three-ring binder with pockets for saving your garden seed packets. No longer will we wonder what variety we planted the previous year, and there’s also room for notes.

Another is the Gardener’s One Line A Day diary, which could make an incredible record of our gardening years.

Consider these gifts for houseplant enthusiasts: clay pots; potting mix; drainage saucers; rooting hormone for cuttings; an extra houseplant-type watering can; insecticidal soap; neem oil; systemic houseplant insecticide granules; kits for indoor herbs or microgreens; plant lights; houseplant identification books; small starter-type houseplants; an orchid plant; terrarium supplies; seed starting supplies; self-watering devices for vacation time; humidity gauges; and fern stands.

For the fruit grower in the family, consider these: a long-handled apple picker; pruning shears or lopper; a pole pruner; tree wrap; home orchard spray; a pump-type sprayer; and a hose-end sprayer.

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For those growing flowers or vegetables in containers: Osmocote slow-release fertilizer beads; water-soluble fertilizer; a watering wand; or a high-quality potting mix.

For the vegetable gardener: a high-quality hoe; twine plus wooden stakes for marking rows; a soaker hose; a book describing square foot gardening; a raised bed construction kit; a soil thermometer; and tomato cages.

Flower bed gardeners will enjoy: a reference book on perennial types; peat moss; a decorative bench on which to relax; plant labels; ornaments such as gazing balls, sundials and statuary; a rain barrel; or hose guides to steer hoses around flower bed edges.

Anyone with a lawn will find these useful: a long-handled dandelion digger; a drop-type fertilizer spreader; a lawnmower blade sharpener; and an accurate rain gauge with a 3-inch opening.

Favorite gifts for all gardeners: amaryllis bulbs; rabbit and deer repellent; a gift certificate from a locally owned garden center; a wheelbarrow; a garden hose; a heavy-duty sprinkler; pond and waterfall kits; any tools; membership in a local garden club; a subscription to a gardening magazine; and gardening books of all kinds.

Don Kinzler, a lifelong gardener, is the horticulturist with North Dakota State University Extension for Cass County. Readers can reach him at or call 701-241-5707.