Last minute items for gardeners

I am a last minute shopper.  There, I admitted it, and I’m proud of it.  By waiting until the last minute I get to hear about everyone else’s great gifts — and then buy those same gifts for someone else!  that said, here’s a short list of gifts for gardeners — including a few that I wouldn’t mind having myself.

#1  Books — they’re great, especially in the off-season when the gardener in your life needs some inspiration.  Naturally books by a garden professor is preferred, but I also love anything by Lee Reich.  Another one of my new favorites is the book Taming the Truffle.  For something different try The Foragers Harvest by Samuel Thayer.

#2 Pruners — You can NEVER have enough pruners.  There are many nice pruners out there, but the standard by which all others are measured are the Felco #2s.

#3 Gloves — you can never have too many gloves!  I prefer leather — most gardeners have their personal preferences.

#4 Weird seeds.  OK, it’s a little late to be searching high and low — but most gardeners really love to try new things — so go and get ’em something totally off the wall.  Something beyond tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and watermelons (peanuts maybe).  See if you can find Pawpaw!

#5  A renewable organic fertilizer — not guano or rock phosphate.  Something like cotton seed meal.  Manure is probably a no-no though.  Who wants poo in their stockings?

#6  Moisture sensors of all different types can be fun to play with.

#7  Some fun houseplants — Amaryllis is always a winner – even for non-gardeners!  For the more adventurous look to carnivorous plants like butterwort or even a venus flytrap.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

9 thoughts on “Last minute items for gardeners”

  1. Master Gardeners in Santa Clara County were wondering if there are any studies about comparative sustainability of different fertilizers and other garden products such as ingredients for potting soil (perlite etc). Thanks for any pointers!

  2. Gardening or tree books are indeed great in the off-season. They sure make the off-season easier to get through mentally. As to organic fertilizer, I switched to Scott’s Natural Lawn Fertilizer a year ago and I’m very pleased with the results. I like the slow-release and more balanced nature of natural fertilizers so I doubt I’ll be going back to synthetic.

  3. Marianne — I don’t know of any actual studies, however, there are a number of fertilizers made from what are otherwise waste products — such as cottonseed meal, fish emulsion or corn gluten meal. On the other hand there are also a number of fertilizers which are made from non-renewable things — such as rock phosphate and guano (guano is manure which has been aged for a long time — it is not a quickly renewable resource.) In terms of potting mixes — the one which has the worst reputation is peat though the peat industry argues (unsurprisingly) that it isn’t nearly as bad as it seems. Michael — after reading the ingredients on a bag of Scotts Natural Lawn fertilizer I think it is probably made from non-renewable resources. It looks like it is made using sodium nitrate, a compound often mined in Chile — so check the bag to make sure they’re using renewable resources.

  4. Jeff, I’m looking at the ingredient list of the natural fertilizer right now (it’s actually called Natural Lawn Food, not Fertilizer) and I d
    on’t see sodium nitrate. It says it’s derived from hydrolyzed feather meal, meat meal, bone meal, blood meal and sulfate of potash. Sounds pretty renewable to me as it’s mostly waste products from the meat industry.

  5. Jeff, thanks for mentioning my gardening books. I’m a big fan of your books also. I’ll have a new one out in early March: GROW FRUIT NATURALLY. Anyone who wants to “visit” my farmden via the net can check out my weekly blog at

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