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  Mike's Gardening Tips

Holiday Garden Gift Suggestions--Part One

'Water Away' Deer, Cats, Groundhogs, Nosy Neighbors and Other Warm-Blooded Garden Pests!
Yes, pesky mammals can cause a gardener endless frustration--like when you coax a flowering shrub or other prized plant into prime condition only to wake up and find that it's been devoured by hungry deer, or you spy the neighbor's cat using your nice raised beds as a litter box. That's why the Motion Activated Sprinkler is #1 on my gardener's gift suggestion list. It looks like an ordinary, turned-off sprinkler--until the movements of a pesky mammal activate it, and it suddenly comes alive and shoots cold water at them, they run away, and your garden is saved! Available at garden centers and thru MANY catalogs, like Lee Valley Tools, who sell it for the best price I found. They're on the web at www.leevalley.com, or call 'em tol1 free at 1-800-871-8158.

YBYG Website Extra!:
Motion Activated Sprinkler at the Lee Valley site

Or Whack Weeds With That Water!
Is the gardener in your life sick of pulling weeds? Give them a gift that hoses their weed woes away! You know I'm always telling you that big, nasty, deep-rooted weeds like dandelions are much easier to remove when your ground is really wet. Well, the Water Powered Weeder takes that premise to the max by soaking the soil and blasting the weed out! You simply attach the long thin 'wand' to your hose, turn the water on, push down gently, and intense water pressure 'drills' those long-rooted weeds right out of the ground. The four foot long wand comes in two sections, so you can use it standing up or kneeling down. Available from the Lee Valley tool catalog; on the web at www.leevalley.com, or call 'em tol1 free at 1-800-871-8158.

YBYG Website Extra!:
Lee Valley Water Weeder:

Or Wipe Those Weeds Out With Flame!
How about a gift your gardener can use to fight weeds with...FIRE?! Yes, no holiday gift roundup would be complete without an incendiary device now, would it?

Flame weeders are great--especially the small, hand-held models. You just attach a disposable 'camp stove' size propane bottle to the long metal wand, click it on, wave the fiery tip over the tops of plants you dislike and they will dehydrate and die. Perennial weeds, like dandelions, may require a second treatment--or you can just linger there a while and toast the suckers.

A number of variations on this essential tool are available. The original is BernzOmatic's "Outdoor Torch" (they changed the name recently; it used to be called the "Yard & Garden Torch"); you'll find it at hardware and garden stores, or buy one direct from BernzOmatic; call them toll-free at 1-800-654-9011 and ask for Model JT 850 (it has a push button ignition, so you don't have to struggle with matches and lighters--and it only costs a couple bucks more than the basic model to get this great feature). (Note: They do NOT sell via the web; sorry...)

Interested in devices that can help your weed-weary gardener wipe out unwanted plants using propane-powered flame from a big, refillable gas-grill sized tank? Peaceful Valley Farm Supply has a big selection, including a WAY cool $200 backpack flamer! Details at www.groworganic.com, or call them toll-free at 1-888-784-1722.

YBYG Website Extra!:
Peaceful Valley flame weeder page

Or Consider a Kinder, Gentler 'Heat Weeder"
Don't like the idea of open flame? A pair of high-quality, Swiss made devices use propane-powered radiant heat instead of actual fire to 'cook' weeds away! The "Dandy Destroyer" has a two-inch round head for cooking away lawn weeds. The "Infra-Weeder" keeps patios and walkways neat with a 3 x 7 inch radiant heat plate. Available from the Canadian company Rittenhouse; on the web at www.rittenhouse.ca, or call toll-free: 1-877-488-1914.

YBYG Website Extra!:
Rittenhouse flame weeder page

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