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5 Great Gifts For the Organic Gardener on Your List

Do you need to buy a gift for an organic gardening fanatic who seems to have everything? Here's a list of easy to buy items that can easily be shipped or transported to the lucky gardener on your gift list (I've omitted every gardener's favorite--tons--literally--of compost!).
  1. Gift Certificate to a Favorite Seed Source-- Many shy away from giving gift certificates as gifts. To them, I would like to say, please make an exception for the organic gardener! A gift certificate to our favorite mail-order source of organic seeds and growing supplies (Johnny's, Fedco or Territorial Seed are likely to be good choices) will allow us to savor hours of pleasurable catalog-browsing, during which we will imagine how to best make use of your gift.

    A gift certificate can encourage frugal or timid gardeners to splurge on seeds for plants that they have been curious about for years, but have been reluctant to try. Best of all, it is a gift that keeps on giving, because every time your gift's recipient gazes upon the plants that your gift produced, they will certainly think kind thoughts about you!

  2. Ergonomic Digging Fork , from Smith and Hawken or any other source of well-crafted hand tools. A digging fork is always appreciated: it's useful for removing weeds with big clumps of roots or for loosening the soil in garden beds, (as in the "double digging" method that is much in favor among some organic gardeners) and is a must for harvesting potatoes or sweet potatoes.

    To really make an impression, have a custom nameplate with the recipient's name (or a message of your choice) made and affix it to the fork's handle, at a point that won't interfere with the user's grip, of course.
  3. Automated Sprout Machine-- Eating delicious fresh produce is the big payoff for most organic gardeners, but, unfortunately, the produce harvesting season for most gardeners (unless they live somewhere very warm, or have a greenhouse) lasts only a few months. Sprouts are a great way to get fresh, green, veggies year-round. I confess that I got one last winter (an Easy Green Auto-Sprouter) and it has been in almost constant use, churning out one beautiful batch of alfalfa sprouts after another, every five days, like clockwork.

    A sprout machine is an automated sprout growing system that is far more reliable and convenient than the traditional "sprouts in a jar" method. The sprout machine will take care of watering your sprouts for you (misting them every few hours), ensuring that your sprouts will grow quickly and will nearly always be gorgeous and healthy.

    So, if an organic gardener in your life is truly craving an easy way to bring their garden indoors for the winter, try getting them a spouting machine!

  4. Floating Row Cover --This gem of a gardening supply tends to quickly become a gardener's prized possession. Floating row cover is a lightweight, re-useable, translucent polypropylene blanket that is used to protect plants from being devoured by insects, scalded by the sun, or "melted to death" by frost. Using row cover can also help your plants establish more quickly, leading to earlier tomatoes and other summer crops, and can extend your growing season further into the fall, as well.

    In fact, it can resolve or reduce the intensity of so many organic gardening problems that, in my opinion, no gardener should be without it. Floating row cover is available in several different "weights" or thicknesses: the thicker ones are more effective for frost protection, but are too heavy to use as insect barriers during the summer months.

  5. Wall O' Water is a gift for the gardener who is on a perpetual quest for growing the earliest tomato possible. They can best be described as clear, floppy plastic tubes, about a foot and a half high with a similar diameter that can be filled with water to create a miniature greenhouse for a single plant.

    The idea is that once a Wall O' Water is set in place in a garden plot, the water-logged mini-greenhouse will warm the soil and keep the single plant within it cozy and protected from the ravages of winter and early-spring winds and frosts. The manufacturer claims that Wall O' Water can protect tomato plants and other tender annuals in temperatures as low as 16 degrees F.

    I have used Wall O' Waters with some degree of success. A couple of years ago, I bought a set of three of them, which has enabled me to set out a few of my tomato plants a couple of weeks earlier than their cohort for the past two seasons: the Wall O' Water-grown plants always fruit about a week earlier than their unprotected, late-planted brethren. I predict that any tomato fanatic who is willing to fuss with positioning and filling the Wall O' Water will gain at least the same amount of success that I have, and will count the Wall O' Water as a very thoughtful gift on your part!

If you follow these suggestions, you will likely become a favorite among the gardeners on your gift list, and they may reciprocate by keeping your produce drawer well-stocked this summer. In any case, the reward is in the giving. . . Enjoy!

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