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!).
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
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.
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!