Thomas J. Koske | 9/14/2006 12:12:05 AM
News You Can Use For December 2003
Holiday shoppers looking for unique gifts might consider gardening tools or special bulbs and other plants materials. "To a true gardener, a quality tool is a pleasure to use and unusual plant material or seed is exciting," says LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dr. Tom Koske.
Gardening accessories ultimately encourage outdoor exercise and better health. They’re especially valuable for children.
"If you're shopping for gifts for youngsters, you can move away from traditional gifts and promote lifelong skills by giving a set of garden tools to a child," Koske says. He explains that by sharing your knowledge about how things grow, these gifts can supply valuable learning experiences and skills development.
"Gardening can provide many benefits to your kids or grandchildren," Koske explains, noting, "If approached in the right way, gardening can be a rewarding, fun experience – rather than a chore – for youths of any age."
Gardening, like camping, involves its share of work, but the right tools with the right fit make it more efficient and enjoyable. Many tall adults need extra-long handles on their tools for the right fit. A small child usually needs smaller, lighter tools, Koske points out.
The LSU AgCenter horticulturist reminds adults that kids like gadgets and high-tech items. "These things may not do that much in terms of productive gardening, but they might get the kids into the garden more often, and that's a start," Koske says, adding, "Even though they don't move much soil, small hand tools have a place in gardening, and kids like to use them as they work together with adult supervision."
To keep children interested, Koske suggests involving the little gardeners in designing some fancy, colorful garden row markers and in building a scarecrow or two. Another way to hold interest is to plan for unusual plants like the Martynia (unicorn plant), Lunaria (money plant), Chinese lantern and strawberry popcorn.
"Allowing kids to plan, plant and care for their own gardens will encourage them to look forward to eating what they grow," Koske emphasizes. "A lot of educational values come out of gardening, so your gifts may be the start of an interest that will last a lifetime."
Additional yard and garden information is available by contacting an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office. Also, look for Gardening and Get It Growing links in the Feature section of the LSU AgCenter Web site: www.lsuagcenter.com.
On the Internet: LSU AgCenter: http://www.lsuagcenter.com/
On the Internet: www.louisianalawnandgarden.org.
Source: Tom Koske (225) 578-2222, or firstname.lastname@example.org.