What to get me (or your favorite gardener) for Christmas
Updated: Dec 30, 2019
With Black Friday looming, I've been asked a few times what I want for Christmas. I need to rebuild a few of my original raised beds, so that tops my list this year but if the gardener in your life doesn't need lumber, here are some great gift ideas. I either own these already and love them, or they're on my wish list too.
Full sun, part sun, shade gauge (Suncalc)
This electronic gauge is meant to be placed in the morning and reads the sunlight throughout the day. When it's done the display indicates whether the area is full sun, shade or somewhere between. It's been priceless for me in planning the right plant for the right place.
Because I'm a raised-bed gardener, I love to use this to determine if the soil is warm enough to plant in since my soil temps differ from those reported to the Mesonet. It can also be used to measure the temperature of compost.
Honestly, this isn't super useful but it is loads of fun. I like to measure the light reading under my grow lights and compare it to various corners of my yard. The PH meter is useful for plants that require highly acidic or highly alkaline soil that needs to be monitored.
This won't replace a professional soil analysis from the local extension office, but it helps to determine if major imbalances exist. I haven't pinned down the cause but I've extremely low nitrogen in some of my soilless mix in recent years. This text confirmed why my plants were stunted and helped me to choose the right care for my plants.
Maybe it's the Okie in me, but I use a lot of zip ties around the garden. Having a variety of sizes is always handy.
Forgive the giant image, also, I couldn't find them on Amazon (shocking, right). They're the Miracle-grow Durable Grip Gloves. Hopefully, a retailer in your area carries them because they're really great. I didn't wear gloves much in the garden because I found them too inhibiting, too hot or they just didn't fit right, that is, until my MIL gave me these for Christmas last year. These are Goldilocks - just right. And they're pretty affordable.
Really useful do-dads
These are a MUST! In fact, I was running through the house and garage like a maniac a couple of weeks ago when I couldn't find these. They're great for leaves, plus spreading mulch and wood chips.
It's not glamorous but I use it all the time in my garden. Think of it like duct tape - it has a thousand more uses than you could imagine.
My mom moved into my spare bedroom "temporarily" more than a year and a half ago which means the only room left for seed starting is a small "bonus room." These shelves are narrow enough to fit in front of a standard window and when combined with the grow lights below, will allow a gardener to start their own plants from seeds..
These aren't powerful enough to grow vegetables year-round but they'll be excellent for starting seeds or overwintering sun-loving tropicals. A power surge fried my existing grow lights and after doing some research and reading other blogs, I'll replace them with these. For a full seed starting system, in addition to the wire shelves above, a gardener will need a few other odds and ends, such as timers, seed starting mats (heat mats), and possibly some clip fans.
For big impact under the tree
I would have one of these already if I could figure out where to put it! As soon as I do, you can bet it will be on the next Amazon truck.
I've been using this composter for two years now and am constantly amazed at how much compost this thing can churn out! It has a small footprint and even completely full isn't too heavy to turn. Two chambers allow me to continue adding kitchen scraps even after one side is filled. It promises finished compost in two-weeks, but I've found it takes longer than that. A month is realistic in the right weather with the correct balance of materials. I have a family of four and it can handle my output most of the time (except when I'm canning).
Most gardeners want to also be good stewards of our planet and rain saving is a great way to do that. There are more utilitarian rain barrels available, but this is going next to the house so for me it's important the barrel also look nice. That's why this one has been on my wish list for a while.