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A GREENER VIEW Gifts For the Gardener on Your Shopping List PDF Print E-mail
Written by JEFF RUGG Creators Syndicate   
Wednesday, 01 December 2010 23:32

The Dino-Lite Microscope was one of the best gardening and just plain fun tools I used this year. This microscope may seem to be a gadget, but it is a useful handheld digital microscope. It is utilized for close-up inspections in many industries, including by dentists and doctors. I used it to look at insects and diseased leaves to determine the proper way to help my plants.


It connects directly to the computer with its 6-foot USB cable. The software allows it to take still-life photos, timelapse videos and real-time videos. The magnification on most models starts at 10 power and goes to 50. Then as you keep zooming the focus ring, things are out of focus until they come back into focus at around 200 power. No matter what hobby you have, being able to see things magnified at 200 power on your computer screen is really amazing.

The biggest difference in the models is the resolution of the built-in camera. The inexpensive starter model, the AM2011, has a .3MP camera (640 x 480 pixels), a USB 1.1 output and only four LED lights. It retails at $129. The model AM3011 has eight LED lights and USB 2.0 output; it retails at $185. I used the AM413T with a 1.3MP camera (1280 x 1024 pixels). For me, it's an important measuring tool that helps write dimensions into the picture. It retails at a much higher price: $475.

If you teach kids of all ages, this is a durable and useful tool, but adults will have even more fun looking at the hidden world around us and watching it blown up on the computer screen. You can check out for details and for places to buy one. I used to get mine.

Another great gift is a gardening tool that I use a lot. When I have to dig small holes for annuals, bulbs, and for getting weeds out of tight spots, I use a couple of small trowels from Radius Garden.

Curved into a half circle, the handle's shape allows my hand and wrist to be straight in line with the hole I am digging — rather than at a right angle as with a regular-handled trowel. It is perfectly aligned for anyone who has arthritis or other joint problems.

The handle is a visible green thermoplastic, which helps me find it. It is warm when the weather is cold, cool when the weather is hot, and it is not slippery when wet.

I use the narrow-bladed Weeder tool to dig many holes because it cuts through the soil easier than a wide-bladed tool.

Radius Garden also provides a line of garden shovels with a circle at the top of the handle; it gives gardeners a better grip from any angle as they dig a hole.

E-mail questions to Jeff Rugg at info@greenerview. com.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 December 2010 23:41