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Have a creepy-crawly Christmas.

Here are 20 unusual gift ideas for the organic gardener on your list

FINDING THE RIGHT gift for an organic gardener isn't necessarily difficult. You just have to think like someone who gets more excited about a truckload of manure than a new sweater.

To help you out, we asked four avid organic gardeners to tell us what's on their wish lists this holiday season. Kate Rogers Gessert of Eugene, Oregon, is a 20-year veteran of organic gardening. John Kowall of Richmond, California, is another longtime organic gardener. Peggy Rishe of Santa Barbara is a relatively recent but enthusiastic convert. Bud Stuckey grows crops organically in Sunset's Menlo Park test garden.


The New Royal Horticultural Society Dictionary of Gardening (Stockton Press, New York, 1992). "An incredible resource, with hundreds of plants and cultural information."--K. R. G. The 3,200-page four-volume set costs $795.

Freezer. "I never have enough room for my large harvest of organic vegetables."--B. S. Cost: $350 to $430 for 13 cubic feet.

Tumbler composter. "This is the best gift I ever received. It's an integral part of my organic garden, producing a cubic yard of compost every three to four weeks."--P. R. Cost: $290 to $370.

Gas-powered shredder. "This is my all-time favorite gift idea. Yard waste that normally goes into overfilled dump sites can be used for mulch and compost."--J. K. Cost: $479 to $1,000 for a 4- to 5-horsepower machine.

Lightweight rotary tiller. "A workhorse gift that's a must for tilling in compost and fertilizer. The small models weigh only 25 pounds, making them easy to use and lift."--P. R. Cost: about $300 for a 1.6-hp machine.


Truckload of horse manure. Not a very romantic gift, but everyone mentioned it. Cost: usually free (ask at your nearest stable or ranch).

Bat guano. "A fast-acting, potent fertilizer."--P. R. Cost: about $17 for 10 pounds.

Colloidal (soft) phosphate. "This phosphate is more readily available and quicker-acting than other types of rock phosphate."--K. R. G. Cost: about $8 for 50 pounds.

Diatomaceous earth. "An important part of any organic gardener's bag of tricks. It controls many insects, both indoors and out."--P. R. Cost: $10 for 5 pounds.

Fish emulsion and liquid seaweed (kelp). "I swear by these fertilizers. Their trace elements seem to really make a difference."--B. S. Cost: $5 to $6 per quart.

Earthworms. "Everyone knows that earthworms are good for the soil, but few people would think of giving them as a gift."--J. K. Cost: about $17 for a pound.


Common-Sense Pest Control, by William Olkowski, Sheila Daar, and Helga Olkowski (The Taunton Press, Newtown, Conn., 1991; $39.95). "Everything you need to know about bad and good bugs."--J. K.

Let It Rot! The Gardener's Guide to Composting, by Stu Campbell (Storey Communications, Inc., Pownal, Vt., 1990; $8.95). "My composting bible. It's a great gift for a first-time composter."--P. R.

Seed to Seed: Seed Saving Techniques for the Vegetable Gardener, by Suzanne Ashworth (Seed Saver Publications, Rural Route 3, Box 239, Decorah, Iowa 52101, 1991; $20 postpaid). "An indispensable book if you want to save your own seed."--B. S.

The Three Year Garden Journal with Regional Planning Guides, by Louise Carter and Joanne Lawson (Starwood Publishing, Washington, D.C., 1988; $27.95). "I keep track of yields, weather, planting dates, pests."--P. R.


Compost thermometer. Everyone mentioned this useful tool, which tells you whether your compost is getting hot enough. Cost: $14 to $19.

Seed catalog gift certificate. "I like to buy from catalogs that sell untreated seeds. That way I make sure I'm growing organically from start to finish."--P. R. Cost varies.

Hand cream and fingernail kit. "Let's face it, organic gardening (or any kind of gardening) can ruin a pair of hands."--J. K. Cost varies.

Copper snail barriers.

"This long-lasting, weatherproof banding is great for keeping snails and slugs from attacking plants."--P. R. Cost: about $11 for 20 feet.

Beneficial insects (trichogramma wasps, green lacewings, ladybugs). "Most suppliers accept orders in advance and allow you to specify shipping dates for spring delivery."--P. R. Cost: $6 and up.


Fertilizers, insects, and some small items can be ordered from Peaceful Valley Farm Supply, Box 2209, Grass Valley, Calif. 95945, (916) 272-4769; or ARBICO, (800) 767-2847. The composter is available from Kemp Co., (800) 441-5367.
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Title Annotation:gift ideas for gardeners
Author:Swezey, Lauren Bonar
Date:Dec 1, 1992
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