My gift receiving included a bundle of gardening knowledge in the form of some excellent reading material to keep my mind occupied with thoughts of growing veggies throughout the cold northeast winter.
For useful in the garden reference:
A how-to/encyclopedic guide to the ins and outs of vegetable & herb gardening The Kitchen Garden Grower's Guide is an extremely amazing guide for most levels of gardener. From seed to harvest to food preparation and storage I will be referring back to this book for many years to come. One thing I find especially helpful is that this book is geared towards those who want to plant a small garden, not a massive farm.
Another encyclopedic reference book, The Organic Gardener's Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control covers all the basics of plant diseases and management. Each listing covers common disease or pest problems, and useful tips to manage them without the use of chemicals. The book is full of pictures identifying garden diseases and insects. You could bring this to the garden and match your plant to a photo in the book. It seems that in most common cases identifying a disease or insect should be a smooth process.
Even if I'm not fortunate enough to be granted a plot at one of my local community gardens this coming year, I probably will be the following year. Both of the above books will be helpful for years to come, whether I am gardening at a community plot or my own yard (when i don't live in a condo).
For the kitchen:
Storey Country Wisdom Bulletins such as Food Drying Techniques are 32-page how-to guides for practical and useful topics. The techniques presented in this bulletin are very basic and explained in an easy to follow manner. This certainly isn't the be all-end all in food preservation but it is a good start for some simple small scale techniques that can be done in any kitchen, even as small as mine.
Quite the haul of valuable and interesting gardening resources to keep my head filled with thoughts of planning my own garden. Cheers and well wishes for a happy and healthy winter related holiday & new year for all!