Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Green(er) Gifts for the Gardeners on Your List

Green Bean looks toward the holidays with a shovel in hand.

It is that time of year again. While I am all about less gifts, less consumption, more experiences, if you really want to buy me or any other gardener a present this year, here is what people with dirt under their nails appreciate:

1) Sharpened Tools. Every winter, gardeners tuck away their tools - dulled from months worth of snipping and maybe a bit rusted from being left outside in the first rainstorm of the season.  Some gardeners are organized enough to have their tools "winterized" - sharpened and cleaned - or do it themselves.  For the rest of us, this is an ideal gift!  It has no carbon footprint, extends the useful life of our tools and is a service readily available at most locally owned nurseries.  You can also bring clippers to almost any knife sharpening service.

2) Seeds or Plants from Your Own Garden. If you have your own garden, what is more thoughtful than carefully saved seeds or propagated plants.  Bonus: inexpensive and low impact.

3) Coupon for a Project: Last year, my dad rigged up my bat house in the absolute perfect location (not that the bats have appreciated it yet but someday...).  The year before, my husband built me a potato condo. This year, I'm hoping for a raised bed cover for keeping heat in and bugs out. Hint, hint, honey!

My bat house. 

4) Coupon for a Work Day: This is a gift even kids can give.  What gardener wouldn't welcome a willing pair of hands to spread mulch, turn the compost, pull weeds?

5) New Gloves: Unlike tools which can be refreshed year after year, a well worn pair of garden gloves probably will only last a year or two.

6) A New Fruit Tree: Know your gardener well with this one, but if you have someone who has recently moved, expanded their garden or embarked on the hobby, a new fruit tree might be just the thing.  My mother-in-law gave me a lemon tree our first year in our new house.  It was the perfect gift as I had been lamenting leave our old lemon tree behind.

7) A Greenhouse: Yes, I said it. They are big and expensive and this might be many gifts rolled into one.  My husband gave me a greenhouse a few years ago.  It was my birthday present, my Christmas present and our anniversary present and it has changed the way I have gardened every since.

My greenhouse! And one of my many rain barrels.

8) A birdbath: I have recently waxed on and on about the importance of birdbaths for the garden. Homemade or second hand (think estate sales or Craigslist) are fine here.  If you buy new, emphasize quality. A well made cement birdbath can last generations. One that I got new, I have had for eighteen years.

The robins enjoy my eighteen year old birdbath - a gift from my parents for my first garden.

9) A birdhouse: Speaking of birds, who doesn't want more in their garden? They provide beauty and keep pests at bay. Avoid painted birdhouses and look for ones that are plain wood. If you have kids or are crafty, a handmade birdhouse or a birdhouse construction kit is another great option. Birdhouses and birdhouse kits are readily available online, at Home Depot and at birding stores.

A woodpecker checking out a birdhouse I picked up at the local thrift store.

10) A rain barrel: Two years ago, I installed my first rain barrel. I am up to five and I cannot believe all the water I was wasting in years past.  Rain barrels are wonderful ways to reuse oak wine barrels (Beware, the water will smell like wine. Not necessarily a bad thing!) or food-grade plastic shipping containers.  Bonus: in some areas, like my drought-stricken home of California, you can get a rebate for buying a rain barrel.

11) A compost bin: If your gardener does not already have a compost bin set up, I highly recommend one.  You can purchase them (sometimes with a rebate from your local garbage company) or you can build one.  We currently have one that I hired a handyman to build. I get tons and tons of high quality compost every year from what would otherwise go to the landfill.

12) A Garden Bench or Chair: Your gardener may already have plenty of these but most of us don't.  Most of us gardeners are so busy gardening, that we do not take the time to sit down and drink in the beauty and life of our gardens.  I have two benches in my main garden and I am still angling for another seat on the other side.

13) Gift certificates to your gardeners' favorite local nursery, seed store or online garden supply store.  Peaceful Valley Organic Garden Supply is my favorite for all around garden supplies.

What other gifts can you add to the list?  If you garden, what are you hoping for this year?

This post is part of the Homestead Barn HopBackyard Farming ConnectionMaple Hill Hop, and Green Thumb Thursday.


Betsy Escandon said...

What a great list! Even I, a completely non-gardener, would love several items on this list (birdbath, compost bin...)

Mindful Momma said...

These are such thoughful ideas! I especially love the tool sharpening suggestion!

Tiffany said...

I want a portable garden cage to keep birds and deer out!

robbie @ going green mama said...

OK, I'm geeky, I got a compost bin for my birthday! :)

daisy g said...

Fabulous list for any gardener! Although I am so with you on less gifts and more experiences. I especially like the coupons for time spent together. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post on this week's Maple Hill Hop!

Christy said...

Awesome list! I guess I got my xmas present early then, with my covered hoops. ;-)

A greenhouse and bird bath are on my list.

Green Bean said...

@Betsy - Ohhh, great! Hope you get something good for the holidays this year!

@Mindful Momma - Thank you. It is such a no-impact gift.

@Tiffany - Oh me too! For the squirrels.

@robbie - Nerds unite! I would have been stoked over that gift. I still remember the year my parents gave me a birdbath. Best Christmas - only eclipsed by the greenhouse.

@daisy g - A coupon for time spent together in the garden would be awesome. Actually, not even doing work but just sitting on a bench sounds wonderful. I'll have to add that to my list for the kids.

@Christy - I am so jealous of your covered hoops. Hoping desperately for those this year!

Lisa said...

Wonderful gift ideas! I know I would love several of these items.

Thanks for linking up with the Green Holiday Link Up!


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