The 2nd edition of Organic Gardening for Dummies (Wiley Press, 2009, $19.99) is a terrific resource for both "green" gardeners and those who'd like to be, but aren't sure how to wean themselves from chemical fertilizers and pesticides. And if you're on the fence about the benefits of turning "green," National Gardening Association editor Suzanne DeJohn updated the book with an informative, and highly readable, chapter entitled "Why Garden Organically?" It covers the many benefits organic gardening offers you, your community, wildlife, and the planet. Organic Gardening for Dummies explains all the basics of soil preparation, natural fertilizers and pest control, as well as specifics for growing veggies, fruits, nuts, herbs, roses, flowers, trees, shrubs and lawns. This book would make a terrific Christmas gift for gardeners and wanna-be gardeners on your list.
Clever Gardening Technique
Testing Christmas Tree Freshness
Trees are often cut many weeks in advance and shipped around the country. Use these tests to get as fresh a tree as possible to last through the holiday season. Lightly grasp a branch with your hand and gently pull towards you, allowing the branch to slip through your fingers. You don't want to see a lot of needles falling out. Another method is to grab the tree by the trunk, lift it a couple of inches and "thunk" the trunk butt on the ground. If lots of needles drop, it's not fresh.