With the quickly approaching holiday season, my mind has turned to brainstorming the perfect gift for everyone on my list. I tend to think that sometimes the best gifts are the simplest ones, which come from the sweat of your brow rather than the fancy catalogue companies or online department stores. They often come from my front-yard garden or are intended for the garden.
Garden goodies that are canned, preserved, dried or fermented can make great presents and have several advantages. These homegrown gifts can save you money, be quite simple to make in the home kitchen, and can be prepared well before the holiday rush. Baked goods featuring your homegrown produce are also a hit. Think about giving out homemade pies with either the pumpkin you grew or frozen blueberries from your hedgerow, or make biscuits featuring the heirloom sweet potatoes you saved for the winter. The options are endless and folks love to get something that they can eat and enjoy throughout the cool weather months.
My brother and I already exchanged gifts this year when he came for a visit this month. He gave my family several delicious persevered items from his large home garden, including a jar of his wife’s famous dilly beans, pickled green tomatoes and a jar of homemade berry jam.
For another creative garden gift, the seeds saved from your heirlooms are a perfect present for the gardener friends on your list who love growing unusual or colorful cultivars. Simply put a bow around a bag of seeds and be sure to include a tag identifying the seeds and any special growing instructions.
As a beer lover, one of my favorite gifts to receive is a six-pack of homebrew. A good friend of mine in Virginia commonly gives the gift of homemade beer every December, typically featuring the hops he grows. In his small garden plot in downtown Richmond, he grows a row of hops every year, trellised along the side of his shed. When the hops are harvested, he saves them to use in a batch of special holiday IPA for his friends and family, spreading holiday cheer with an amazingly bitter beer right from the garden!
So what is on my wish list this year? A new watering wand, a bunch of fun heirloom seeds, a rain barrel, and new garden fork—all of which will help make my 2015 gardening efforts more fun and successful. For other great garden gift ideas, consider heading to your locally owned garden center and talking to the staff about gift ideas that are right for those special gardeners in your family.