Santa knows that I really look forward to receiving unusual gardening tools as Christmas gifts. Every year, though, it's becoming more difficult for Santa to find ones that I don't already have.

By the way, even though I enjoy getting tools as gifts, my wife would probably show Santa the door, if he dared to gave her a tool or an appliance as a present. Except my wife isn't a gardener, and gardeners are different. In fact, I know several men and women who would jump for joy if they got gardening tools or gardening appliances as Christmas presents, especially ones that save time, money and muscles.

Gift ideas for gardeners

Most gardening enthusiasts already have a full set of basic gardening tools. Yet nowadays, there are plenty of new-and-improved, high-tech gardening tools available.


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For example, today there are electronic gadgets that can instantly, accurately and reliably measure a soil's temperature, moisture content and pH. Incidentally, I monitor the temperature of our outdoor greenhouse from indoors — without ever stepping outside — because the greenhouse temperature is sent to an indoor receiver via a wireless transmitter. It was a $20 investment that's paid for itself over and over, due to the fact that Jack Frost now has a more difficult time sneaking up on me.

Gardening books also make good gardening gifts, and some of the digitized books are interesting. But please tell Santa that my gardening-book preferences are still old-school. In other words, I much prefer the old-fashion books — with paper pages — to the electronic books and CDs, because I can scribble notes in their margins.

In the meantime, if you're thinking about getting the gardener in your life a gardening-related gift, but aren't certain what to give, you might want to ask Santa to get them a gift card or a gift certificate that can be redeemed at the gardener's favorite garden center. The gardener will certainly appreciate the gesture. Plus, since you can better control how much you spend, giving gift cards and gift certificates will help you, as well as Santa, stick to your budgets.

This week in the garden

I was stockpiling firewood outdoors on wooden pallets. Since they eventually decomposed, though, I've started stacking the wood on "compressor pads." Compressor pads are 2-by-3-foot vinyl and rot-proof pallets designed to keep air-conditioning compressors 2 inches off the ground. These pads are ultraviolet safe and won't crack or collapse under heavy loads.