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Agriculture Today

Gift ideas for gardeners

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December 21, 2011 | 2,576 views | Post a comment

Q. What are some good gifts for gardeners for the holidays?

A. The easiest present to buy is a gift certificate from your gardener’s favorite neighborhood nursery. You can determine exactly how much you want to spend and there are advantages for the gardener as well. They have the fun of picking out what they want. Nothing is more fun to a gardener than wandering around a nursery perusing the merchandise.

If it is a plant that the gardener needs, they can select the one that fits the landscape plan and only purchase it when they have the time to plant it.

If your gardener is just beginning a gardening library, you can consider Neil Sperry’s Complete Guide to Texas Gardening, William Welch’s Perennial Garden Color, or Greg Grant and Roger Holmes’ Home Landscaping Texas. They are all under $40. Paul Cox and Patty Leslie’s Texas Trees a Friendly Guide is less expensive.

William Welch and Greg Grant have a new book out in 2011. It is titled Heirloom Gardening in the South: Yesterday’s Plants for Today’s Gardens and sells for $29.95. It has excellent photos, is well written, and the information is top-notch. Dr. Welch is a longtime professor of ornamental horticulture at Texas A&M. Greg Grant now works for Stephen F. Austin University, but he used to be the extension agent for horticulture in San Antonio. Both are good writers and recognized as leaders in the field.

Q. How far apart do we need to thin our carrots, radishes, and onions?

A. 4 inches, 3 inches, and 6 inches, respectively.

Q. I saw a pepper-flavored suet at the feed store last week. Is it true that the birds will eat it and the squirrels won’t?

A. Yes, it works very well. Use pepper-flavored suet and safflower seeds for a feeding regime that will attract most birds without interest by the squirrels.

Q. What is the light green grass-like weed growing in my lawn?

A. I have rescue grass in my yard, but it also might be rye grass or annual bluegrass. Keep it mowed frequently and it will make an attractive winter lawn.

Calvin Finch is a horticulturist and the San Antonio Water System’s project director of regional initiatives and special projects. Hear him on “Gardening South Texas” on KLUP 930 AM radio Saturdays noon to 2 p.m., and 1-3 p.m. Sundays. Or, e-mail him at reader@wcn-online.com.

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