Do you know someone who has just started growing veggies and herbs or is newly interested in edible landscaping? Here are some suggestions for gifts that would not only be appropriate, but useful and greatly appreciated. Note: with the exception of the last item which falls in the toot-my-own-horn department, these are all things that I, a vegetable gardener for over 40 years, couldn’t do without.
How did we garden in the past without these non-woven fabric pots? There are so many uses for Smart Pots, from growing easily harvested potatoes to lining other flower pots, urns or other containers. For the new veggie gardener these are most useful for providing an instant “raised bed” or container garden that will hold and grow any vegetable plants. The photo included here shows eggplant, leeks and lettuce growing in the pots that were placed along the edge of our cutting garden. The beauty of Smart Pots, however, is that you can put them anywhere including on a sunny driveway or along the side of a house.
Instant Raised Bed Smart Pot
And for someone who wants a raised bed but can’t build one, try this instant out-of-the-box, open and fill large Smart Pot. Unfold the fabric, fill it with soil and start planting!
DE is one of my go-to products for insect control. It’s most important when new plants are either just placed in the garden or when seedlings are just starting to poke up from the soil. Diatomaecous Earth controls earwigs, flea beetles, snails and slugs, especially early in the season.
My go-to product for fungal problems is Actinovate, which is an organic fungicide made from a beneficial bacteria. We use this early in the season to prevent or delay the onset of powdery mildew, leaf spot and early blight on tomatoes. Like any fungicide, it’s most effective when used before your plants have a problem. Mix and use according to directions.
You’ll need a pump sprayer for mixing Actinovate or organic solutions to other garden problems. Horticutural oil, liquid seaweed/fish emulsion and other organic fertilizers and insecticides can all get mixed in a lightweight Chapin sprayer.
Keeping weeds from taking over is an ongoing task in the veggie garden. Mulch helps, but there are often times when an old-fashioned hoe is the best tool for the job. A model that you can both push and pull is easy to use…you push the blade just under the surface of the soil and move the hoe back and forth to cut young weed seedlings off from their roots. Use a hoe when weeds are small so that they don’t ever get large enough to be a problem.
I use this hand tool for much more than a weeder. You can use it for making a shallow trench to sow seeds into and digging a hole for small plants as well. It’s a great help when weeding in between your desirable vegetable plants. AND, it’s American made!
OK, OK…I grant you that a hose is kind of an odd thing to put under the Christmas tree or wrap in Happy Birthday paper. But trust me on this, the recipient who looks at you funny when the gift arrives will be thanking you repeatedly in the months and years to come. Anyone who has ever fought a stiff, heavy, or kinked hose will sing with joy when using the Flexzilla. My goal is to replace every other garden hose on my property with a Flexzilla hose.
Floating Row Cover
This is a very light-weight, non-woven fabric that is very handy for a number of veggie-garden situations. You can use it to cover small seedlings early in the season to provide warmth and protection from insects and animals…perfect for those who find that the rabbits eat their young lettuce or broccoli plants as they germinate! Floating row cover can provide early frost protection in addition to critter control.
Motion Activated Animal Deterrent
When dealing with crows, Bambi or Thumper sometimes covering the plants isn’t an option. We’ve had great success with these motion-activated sprinklers, however. You attach them to your hose and adjust for the size of critter you’re dealing with…when they come near the sprinkler lets loose with a sudden, hard blast of water. Good for humans who wander where they aren’t supposed to be as well! Just one word of advice from someone who’s been-there-and-done-that: don’t forget that you’ve got these set. More than once I’ve been hit with a blast of water when I go into the veggie garden to pick dinner.
Here’s a good organic fertilizer you can use on any plant in your garden, be it veggies or flowers. This is one of the basic fertilizers to have on your garden shed shelf, so any gardener will appreciate this product no matter what they are growing.
The Truth About Common Garden Lore
Yes, it’s time for a word from your sponsor…me. Seriously! I do think that Coffee for Roses is a great gift for the new veggie gardener. There are all sorts of myths and mis-information presented in an approachable and even entertaining way. Get that new veggie gardener off to a good start by separating out the truth from the trash.