Gardening: Gift ideas gardeners will really dig

<p><p>Gardeners, especially those who have gardened for a long time, can be hard to shop for at Christmas. They already have every tool, book and garden gizmo.</p></p><p><p>Just ask my husband. One year he bought me the front bumper for my Troy-Bilt rototiller. Next it was a digging fork. Now it’s just a card with money in it that I know exactly what to do with come spring.</p></p><p><p>Here are some ideas for the gardeners in your life.</p></p><p><h3>Cream for dry, chapped hands</h3></p><p><p>Regardless of the type of garden gloves your gardener wears, their hands are going to become a mess digging in the dirt. A good hand cream can help restore them. One of my favorites is Crabtree &amp; Evelyn Gardener’s Hand Therapy. Its shea butter and avocado ingredients lock moisture into your skin quickly and smooth out roughness with one application without feeling greasy. </p></p><p><h3>Mushrooms to tackle</h3></p><p><p>For the gardener who is looking for a new challenge, growing their own crop of edible mushrooms might be just the thing. The mushrooms come as a kit made of a sawdust, wood shavings or a hardwood log medium that is inoculated with mushroom spawn.</p></p><p><p>The most popular types of mushrooms offered include shitakes, several varieties of oyster, lion’s mane and reishi antler. All you need for the indoor kits is a dark place with an even temperature. It is very important to follow the directions that come with your kit for success. Some mushrooms will sprout quickly, others may take time.</p></p><p><p>Outdoor kits for mushrooms may be a challenge in our dry climate but for the really adventurous its worth a try. The folks at Fungi Perfecti, one of the Pacific Northwest’s leading medicinal and edible mushroom companies has a list of companies that sell kits at <a href=”” target=”_blank”></a>. Customers also can call Fungi at (800) 780-9126.</p></p><p><h3>Help bees help you</h3></p><p><p>We all are familiar with honey bees and their importance in the environment. However, we have dozens of native bees who are much more efficient pollinators. Two of them, the blue orchard mason bee and the leaf cutter bee are easy to cultivate in nest boxes filled with paper tubes.</p></p><p><p>Mason bees come out from late March into June to pollinate the early gardens and fruit trees while the leaf cutter bees arrive in late June into August for later crops. Because they are solitary bees, they don’t sting.</p></p><p><p>Kits and nesting materials can be purchased from Crown Bees, <a href=”” target=”_blank”></a>, located in Woodinville, Washington, or by calling (425) 949-7954. or Knox Cellars Bees, <a href=”” target=”_blank”></a>, or call Jim Ullrich at (360) 908-0817, in Bremerton. This is a great gift for the whole family.</p></p><p><h3>Pest patrol</h3></p><p><p>My newspaper colleague Susan Mulvihill published a new book this year that is a big hit all over the country. The Vegetable Garden Pest Handbook is a great reference for identifying and then dealing with common vegetable garden pests organically. The book details the life cycle and control methods for 32 pests as well as a detailed list of organic chemical and barrier controls as well as do-it-yourself traps to mechanically keep pests at bay.</p></p><p><p>———</p></p><p><p><em>Correspondent Pat Munts can be reached at</em></p></p>