Sunday, November 30, 2014

Top gifts for gardeners

Ok I don't know how many trowels a girl needs, but those little three tined rakes that seem to always come with them are- in my opinion- totally useless. And everybody thinks they should give them to their gardening pal. Because she doesn't already have a set, surely. And those cute stepping stones/gnomes... More decoration means less space for plants people! So if you want to show the gardeners in your life you care with a meaningful, useful gift, here are my top picks:
(Keep in mind, I'm all about maximizing food to feed my family, and maintaining the health of the soil for next year. My garden is my pantry. If your gardener is raising prize begonias to enter in fancy flower competitions... Well, I'm a little out of my depth. Their needs may be different)

1. Seeds!

Seeds make a wonderful gift. Do you grow a variety s/he's always loved and admired? Save some seeds for a really personal and meaningful gift.
Or give the gift of a seed catalogue from a company such as seed savers exchange, or veseys or stokes. Let them drool over the rainbow of varieties, and then offer to pay for the seeds they pick out for next years garden. (My mother in law is paying for my seed savers order this year, and it is hands down the best gift she's ever given me!)
Who doesn't want to start planning ahead for sunshine and green things in the middle of winter? It's like a mini, mental vacation.

2. Gloves

This might seem like it goes in the same category with owning ten trowel sets, but it isn't. Gloves wear out. I burn through at least a pair a year, usually when I'm doing the heavy spring work like adding compost and tilling/cultivating the soil. Also, I'm fairly certain there are creatures who live in garden sheds and steal them. These creatures are a lesser known variant of the ones who steal socks from the dryer.
I have small hands and I hate big, clumsy gloves with long floppy fingers. They complicate every gardening task. My current favourite gloves are digz signature series, they fit great, are comfortable and give me the protection I need.

3. Subscriptions/ memberships

Another good one is a subscription to a gardening or farming magazine such as Mother Earth news, or any other magazine she likes. Bonus points (in my opinion) if it's a magazine she can receive and read on a tablet/ereader/computer. Saves paper and it's less clutter, though I do understand why some people still like the feel of paper in their fingers.
Alternatively, you could get them a membership where they like to buy their gardening products. Many of the memberships support good work (like saving varieties of scarce heirloom vegetables) and your friend will get a discount all year long when she shops.

4. Canning Gift Basket

If your friend grows food like I do, it's likely they preserve the food they grow too. The canning supplies that get used up and need replacing always make a welcome, practical gift. Try putting together a basket with the flat parts of mason jar lids (it's recommended you only use those once), pickling spices, pickling salt, pectin, cheese cloth, jar labels or a marker designed to write on glass, maybe even some more jars (I never feel I have enough... And I have a lot!). You can spring for any pieces of equipment that would make her life easier but that she's too thrifty to buy herself and makes do without. A food mill for instance, or a mortar and pestle, perhaps even a canning pot.

Those are my top picks for gardener gifts, what are you giving your gardeners this year? And gardeners, what are you hoping Santa brings this year?

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