If you’re looking for gardening gift ideas for the gardener in your life, here are my top six for 2013. I can vouch for all of these items because I’ve either tried them or read them. Many companies send me free items to try and review and these are the ones that landed at the top of my list:
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds has produced the “World’s Largest Seed Catalog” for 2014. The catalog is much more than a list of seeds for sale, it’s like a must-have heirloom vegetable encyclopedia for gardeners. The same company that’s sold heirloom vegetable seeds since 1998 has produced this very special catalog for $7.95 (the company’s free catalog is also available). If you love heirloom vegetables as much as I do, you’ll love this book-like catalog for the 2014 gardening season.
EZ-Walls Plant Protectors are the best ways to get a jump start on gardening in cold-weather climates. In the past I’ve tried plant protectors to keep the soil warm so I could plant earlier, but I disliked the process of setting up the plastic covers and filling them with water. It’s downright uncomfortable to be standing in a cold garden with wet feet. The secret to the EZ-Walls design is these plant protectors have a single-fill tube with a drawstring at the top. To fill, just place the hose in the top tube access, turn on the water, and the individual cells fill themselves. The EZ-walls take shape in about one minute. These are heavy-duty protectors that really stand up to cold, windy weather.
Gardening for Geeks by Christy Wilhelmi explains the science behind gardening and how to avoid common mistakes. Whether you want to learn how to grow a beautiful and sustainable garden using bio-intensive gardening methods or build a solar food dehydrator, Gardening for Geeks is for you. Christy wrote her gardening book to help all kinds of gardeners (geeky or not) learn how to make the most of their garden space. What I like about this book is that it deciphers all the math, biology and ecology of gardening using an easy-to-understand, breezy writing style. I also like how she includes interesting DIY projects, such as how to build a swarm box for bees.
One of the coolest new gardening gadgets is the Green Cycler countertop composter, a food recycling system ideal for organic gardeners and gardeners with small space gardens. This hand-operated unit has a self-contained shredding cartridge that easily turns kitchen waste into “pre-compost” that makes composting so much easier. The advantage to pre-composting food waste is smaller scraps decompose faster, speeding the composting process. The Green Cycler received the 2013 Pinnacle Award for being the best new product at the National Hardware Show. The blades chop all kinds of vegetable matter, from lemon rinds to egg shells (and even avocado pits). I especially appreciate the composter’s reusable Super Green Zeo Filter. The filter sits inside the unit to absorb odors. Made from 100 percent natural, toxin-absorbing zeolite, the filter is rechargeable when exposed to sunlight. When the drawer is full of scraps, just take it to the compost pile or bury them right in the garden.
A seed library membership from Hudson Valley Seed Library is the gardening gift that keeps on giving. The library’s mission is to “save, develop, and celebrate heirloom and open-pollinated seeds.” Gardeners can become seed library members, “check out” seeds at the beginning of the season and return seeds to the library at season’s end. A one-year’s membership kit ($8) includes the seeds in a clever art pack, seed-saving envelope, seed-saving skills newsletter and online catalog discounts for purchasing additional heirloom and open-pollinated seed. Seeds returned to the seed library are redistributed as seed donations to schools and community groups for next gardening season.
The Rocky Mountain Gardener’s Handbook by Mary Ann Newcomer and John Cretti helps gardeners dig in and get growing in a region known for its challenging conditions. Instead of struggling against nature, the authors help gardeners learn how to embrace it. The states included in the Rocky Mountain Gardener’s Handbook include Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and Nevada. In addition, the information and 250-pages of full-color images, are relevant to gardeners in eastern Washington and Oregon. This comprehensive guide includes chapters on annuals, bulbs, ground covers, perennials, and roses. There are chapters on grasses, shrubs, trees and vines. The authors offer many planting options and state-specific tips for gardening design. The list of resources and a plant locator is an added feature. Vegetable gardeners are included, too, in the chapter is devoted to “Edibles: Fruit, Vegetables and Herbs for the Rocky Mountain States.”
Do you have any gardening gift ideas to add to the list? Please share your suggestions here.