Holiday Gifts for the Gardener/Preserver/Stylish Survivalist in Your Life (+ Giveaway)

Home Ground: Sanctuary in the City by Dan Pearson $19.79 US: You can’t go wrong with a book, and I think that the Holidays are a great opportunity to gift books that friends might not buy for themselves otherwise. I found this beautiful, diary-like garden book at a local cookbook shop and was instantly drawn to its quiet, contemplative mood. Vibrant, full-page photos that are printed on contrasting matte and high gloss papers helped a lot, too. It’s the perfect book for inspiring new dreams as you while away the winter (and its stupid, ass face).

I may have to “gift” a second copy to myself.

All remaining images are the property of their respective websites.

CobraHead® Long Handle Weeder and Cultivator $59.95 US: I rarely promote tools and products on this site because I know from experience that one does not require legions of such things to grow a successful or beautiful garden. However, a few good-quality tools that will not break in hard, compacted, urban soil are indispensable and worth the investment.

My favourite tool bar none is the regular, short-handled Cobrahead®. It is still my #1 go-to tool for most tasks and I leave it perched on the edge of one of the raised beds where it is always available for quick use. I still have the original that Cobrahead® sent me in 2003 and it looks and functions exactly as it did back then, only with a lot more dirt on it.

A few years ago, Cobrahead® sent me their long-handled version to review. While it is a very good tool for weeding or meeting unfriendly strangers in dark alleys on the way home from long days at your community plot, we’ve found that its best use in our garden is as a compost turner (I say “we” here because as the official compost turner, Davin uses this tool more than I do). When the tool was stolen from our community garden, I felt panicked as to how we would ever effectively turn our compost again. The thin hook really gets in there and grabs chunks easily in a way that I’ve never been able to easily accomplish with a shovel or fork. And the long handle ensures that I don’t have to hoist my body right into the bin to work it around well.

GIVEAWAY: Cobrahead® is giving away one Long Handle Weeder and Cultivator (U.S & Canada only) and one short-handled CobraHead® Weeder and Cultivator (Worldwide). Please leave a comment below and I will chose a winner at random next Wed. Dec 14 at 5pm EST. Your entry can be as simple as “Count me in.”

Heirloom Tomatoes Modern ID Poster $20.00 US (Sale): Funny how many people have mentioned this poster to me over the last few months as I happen to have one hanging in the hallway that leads to my kitchen! This beautiful tribute to heirloom tomatoes is the work of my friend Renee Garner, who also happens to be a former contributor to this site! I also have one of each of her Seasons posters. If your gardener friend is into veggies and produce, you really can’t go wrong with these prints.

Heck, if I had the dosh, I’d grab up one of her husband Charles’ beautifully handcrafted pinhole cameras. No matter what its state, your garden always looks good through the lens of a pinhole.

Green Roof Birdhouse $68.00 US: My ramshackle shed, which has a green roof in progress, is decorated with birdhouses. Your birdhouse has its own green roof. We are wacky gardeners, indeed.

Weck Canning Jars $ Price varies according to size: I have become a believer, a proper member of the church of Weck. These jars are expensive and hard to come by, but they are worth it. Aesthetically, they are simple and a thing of beauty. Practically, their uses are many and only limited by your imagination. A while back, I accidentally ordered two boxes of the tiniest size. I was disappointed when they arrived, thinking they would sit on the shelf unused. Instead, they have turned out to be the most versatile of the lot. I use them as food storage containers, for canning very small portions of condiments and jams that we do not eat in large portions, for collecting seed from the garden, for keeping dried herbs and spices, and for long and short-term storage of just about anything under the sun. They last forever and without the added expense of new lids upon reuse.

Planting Dibble $18.00 US: I love the word dibble. Dibble. I also prefer the less popular dibbler. Anydibble, including a version of this simple tool has become a bit of a gift list tradition on this site (when I do a gift list. Bah Humbug), and surprisingly the question of where I purchased my own dibble (it makes occasional photo appearances) has been very popular over the years. To answer, it is a simple wooden dibble that I purchased very cheaply at a garden show at least 10 years back. It still makes holes like a pro and I get a lot of use out of it at bulb planting time. While I can no longer recall the maker or seller of my dibble, I can offer that there is always someone on etsy selling a quality handmade version at an affordable price.

Goldenrod Hand Embroidered Pincushion $15.85 US: Sure, I complained incessantly about the thousands of goldenrod seedlings I handpicked out of the garden this spring — the offspring of my neighbour’s 100% neglect all-goldenrod all of the time garden — but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the beauty and importance of this wildlife-supporting plant. Here you can enjoy it in a slightly less effusive form. If sewing is not your thing, I also like this Etsy seller’s hand-embroidered, dandelion coasters, too.

The Periodic Table of Waterbath Preserving Poster $12.00 (Not sure if US or CDN): The good folks at Well Preserved are offering up a poster-sized version of their well-designed and handy chart that any canner would be proud to hang in their kitchen. They’ve also suggested it for your survival bunker, which is exactly how I think of my kitchen, only above ground.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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194 thoughts on “Holiday Gifts for the Gardener/Preserver/Stylish Survivalist in Your Life (+ Giveaway)

  1. This would be the BEST gift ever for my sister, who has been working to become completely self sufficient with her little micro-farm and garden. Definitely count me in!

  2. My Garden is Clay and even after 5 whole years of madly adding compost, rotted manure and topsoil by the truckload too it, it still needs to be broken up, especially in the areas between shrubs. I’ve got my eyes on one of those heirloom tomato posters.

  3. Would love a skookum long handle cultivator!!! count me in on the giveaway…all the way from the Arctic!!!

  4. I love good tools. I’m hoping next year we will either move to a place with a yard, or get a plot in a new community garden. Thanks!

  5. Of all the gift guides I’ve seen lately, this is by far my favorite. I missed out on a Conbrahead opportunity a few years back, but it remains the one tool I’d love to add to my collection.

  6. Not only do I need this and want this, but I really think it would be fun asking, while gardening, “Could you please pass the Cobrahead?”

  7. I love my short handled Cobrahead, and I’ve given several of them as gifts. I’d love to have the long handled version too, so count me in! Last year I put the Tasche tote bag from one of your previous gift guides on my wish list, and I’ve gotten so much use out of it (no more muddy canvas bags for me). Thanks for all great ideas.

  8. What a great round-up of gifts! I’m throwing them all on my wishlist (even though I know I’ll probably end up buying them all for myself over the next year or so…) Wrecks are just the best & wow, I’d love to win that cobrahead–would be perfect for the beds I’m building at our new house!

  9. fingers crossed for the giveaway! still, love your advice, info and encouragement….the ultimate giveaway!!!

  10. I have yet to find a really effective weeder/cultivator. I’m excited by the possibility of giving the cobrahead a try. :-)

  11. love the giveaways! count me in., I could definitely use them to learn more about gardening (with my little guy! — gona be 9 months in the summer)

  12. You grow girl!! All the items look great – could be my Christmas wish list. Love the book, Cobras are great. Cute birdhouse. Now I’m really wishing it was spring and summer again. Sigh….
    Have a wonderful holiday!

  13. Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about! Cobrahead Short and Long Handle Weeders. Gotta have ‘um.

  14. Would love one of these!! Looks like it would give my hoi mi a run for its money in the favourite tool stakes. Count me in!

  15. That looks so handy! I also LOVE the weck jars as well – I use them for storing loose teas, dried herbs and the larger ones for storing left overs. I also got brave and processed some saskatoon berry jam in them this past summer.

    I hesitate (because I’m flesh) to share with my fellow gardening gals… but will because I know where they love and I can always visit/borrow/gaze at their gifts if they win.
    Thank you for doing this! You GrOw girl!

  17. count me in for the giveaway. And I love those Weck jars too. I bought 2 of them at a small shop in Maine. Whoever designed them really knows canning.

  18. That Cobrahead is a serious-business type of tool– I could definitely put that thing to good use around here. Count me in!

  19. Count me in. I would love to have the Cobrahead. Have a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy New Year.

  20. wow, some nice ideas here :) please enter me in the giveaway..the more garden toys the merrier <3 happy hollydaze!!

  21. Moving to Downtown Phoenix in a few weeks and plan on planting a veggie garden. I bet this could really help getting the project started!

  22. … may I just say the green roof birdhouse is the cutest, garden-geekiest thing ever? And man, would it brighten up my little pergola?!?

  23. I would love to have a cobrahead around for my urban garden this year! Count me in! *Thank you*

  24. That cobra tool looks like the perfect thing to help break through the tough hardpack I unearthed from the landscaping cloth next to our house! Count me in.

  25. what a fantastic giveaway! I need alll the help i can get with my gardening! lol! please tell me Canadians are eligible. (specifically Quebec?)

  26. “I have become a believer, a proper member of the church of Weck.”

    I so love this sentence! :-)

    Thanks for pointing out the two posters, this brings me some ideas for my friend Sigi (who once upon a time sent me a copy of “You Grow Girl” for Christmas, and thus is the reason why I’m here, reading & commenting).

  27. Long time reader, first time poster, man that cobra head looks like it would be great for my backyard which has ground more solid than rock! Count me in :)

  28. I always love your Holiday Gift posts. I need my boyfriend to read them as well, cuz I would like anything on this list [the Weck jars, omg]
    I keep eyeing that Cobrahead, even Jere Gettle of Baker Creek gushes about it. So count me in!
    [Maybe I can finally retire my broken 4' toothed mini-pitchfork with no handle in lieu of the Cobrahead. Haha! I must look insane hacking into the dirt with that thing...]

  29. Donna B: A reader once wrote to tell me that in lieu of tools, she “dug” her garden with the nail removal end of a hammer. I love that story!

    Susanne: Thanks! I had some trouble canning with the large tulip shaped Weck, but the smaller jars are a snap and they look so PRETTY. Plus the thousands of other uses that have come up.

  30. Broken tools & whatnot (how about a random stick?) to turn compost definitely makes gardening interesting-especially when flinging dirt & worms into your face, but that slick CobraHead fancy schmancy tool would be mightly lovely to have! So please count me in Gayla :) Also thanks for all your charming posts, I love reading the blog and I am constantly requesting the gardening book recommendations, as well as your own books (love your new cover btw) to be added to our collection at the library where I work.

  31. We had a lot of trouble turning our compost this year with a pitchfork, too many sticks made their way in there before we could make a separate pile for them! So this would work great for us!

  32. My dad has an old tool that has the same kind of head as the cobra, but it attaches with a nut & bolt to a piece of metal at the bottom of the handle. The piece of metal will allow you to add one additional head on either side. He loaned it to me while I had an allotment in Toronto, and it was REALLY handy. I’d love one of these.

  33. Great list! I have a question about the periodic table of water baht canning… I’ve looked at their website but I still can’t quite figure it out: Does the table actually have info that’s helpful when canning? Like do positions on the table or color of the squares mean something? Or is it just for decoration and not referrence?

  34. Count me in! I have a huge yard with lots of clay. I have been adding and adding to the soil but it is so hard.

  35. Excellent gift guide! I recently had some family members complain that all of my wishes on my wish list were garden related (mostly books.) Umm, what’s wrong with that?!

    Count me in, by the way. :)

  36. Excellent gift guide. And count me in for the give away. I have the short handled cobra head and am giving my sister one for Christmas.

  37. Count me in! For the short-handled only :(
    And Ciao! from Rome, Italy. I’m partecipating to grow a vegetable garden in an occupied social center, build in an old factory. It would be nice to see you here in Rome. Please let me know if you’ll have a European tour with your new book.

  38. Jessica: Yes, the waterbath canning chart is useful and not just pretty. The colours organize the various ingredients by type and each ingredient includes possible uses/canning methods.

  39. Sezgi Uygur: I live in an Italian neighbourhood in Canada! My last book, Grow Great Grub has been translated into two more languages, German and Croatian; however, no European trips are planned… I would LOVE to make it over to Italy. A friend has been a few times and speaks very highly of Rome and Naples.

  40. I just put a Cobra head weeding tool on my wishlist a few days ago -you bet I’d love to win one! Count me in.
    :-) And thanks for the book recommendation.

  41. Count me in – anything to help with the weeding would be great – it looks like it might stand a chance against the rocky soil that makes up my eastern Ontario garden!

  42. Count me in – just for the short one, which would be perfect for the impending Southern Hemisphere summer.

  43. Well, I never win anything but please count me in anyway. As far as I’m concerned, the entertainment value in this post is a gift too. LOVED the tweet describing the CobraHead as an all in one compost turner, hoe, and super Ninja death stick. Caused me to burst out laughing, scattering the kitties.

  44. I have the short handled Cobra but with my recent back problem, the long-handled one would be more ergonomically appropriate :)

  45. Fantastic list! Each and every one of these is a gift I would be proud to give and would love to get. I definitely need to try the Weck jars, they are so darn good-looking.

  46. Ooh, that’s a fabulous giveaway! I’m in.

    Also, do you find you have to replace the rubber rings on the weck jars often? I’m curious how long they last.

  47. Danielle: A few have inexplicably stretched and become misshapen, but beyond that I’ve used nearly all of them a few times at least.

  48. Wow! This looks like if could get the lirope out of the bermuda. . .or the other way around depending on one’s perspective. Sounds great!

  49. Count me in! I got a Cobrahead way back when it first came out and I loved it, but forgot to pack it during a move.

  50. Since I’m about to buy a new house, I will definitely need some new tools for the NEW garden. Lots of backbreaking work to look forward to soon so wish me luck. Hope I win something. For sure count me in on this wonderful giveaway. I enjoy reading your blog very much and look forward to future articles.

  51. I am very very very old..71 to be precise. I have never won a damn thing………that I remember…oopps I forgot..I was wrong.
    It looks like a good tool to weed with. I just moved to a new home, and I love the terriced back many places to put new plants. but Im old, and need a lot of tools, please feel sorry for me…and send one. Im on SS and limited income..

  52. tell Gayla, just because shes cute, doesnt give her the rite to post so much……lol……..There are golf clubs named cobrahead as well……by Snake.
    Love you articule, Im new at this, but think I am going to try and build a compost area. It just makes sense to me, plus the benifit of having good soil to work with.

  53. I love that we are all getting hard ons for those jars, but gosh are they beautiful! Hmmm I could use a new tool in my life :)

  54. I bought lemongrass (finally!) today and came here to dig for the post about it – but heck, I’ll post a comment here too for a giveaway. ;)

  55. Lovely gift list! I have many friends who are new to gardening and the cobrahead tools would make great presents for them.

  56. Feel a bit of a fraud not putting anything more erudite than ‘count me in’ but please count me in.

  57. Such a great list of beautifully made, practical things. My German grandparents also swore by Weck – in German you can say you are “einwecken” something, they are that standard.

    Have already preordered the next book, and realize that I need to visit your site more often!

  58. Count me in – we just bought a jungle which may have a house in there somewhere… I have a feeling I’m going to need this (and possibly a small army of determined gardeners!).

  59. Hello, Gayla. I just saw your “last call” on Twitter & couldn’t resist trying my luck. (I read the post a couple of days ago.) I’m trying to talk myself out of NOT gifting myself with the Dan Pearson book. Thanks for recommending it & introducing me to this garden writer.

    My sanctuary in the city is my community garden plot. I could use the long-handled weeder to turn the compost there. (I was also going to say something about using it on tomato thieves but I’ll keep that comment to myself.) Fingers crossed. Count me in and thank you!

  60. I’m too late for the giveaway, but I just wanted to tell you that the CobraHead tools are great. I bought the short handled one at the Philadelphia Flower Show a couple of years ago, and I love it. I also love that it’s made un the USA.

  61. oh these all look so great! I should really look into getting the preserving jars, i find that with the size i have you need to make an obsene quantity to get the use of it properly.

    • I always use smaller jars now for that reason and I go really small or larger depending on how often (and in varying quantities) we use the specific ingredient.

  62. Hello!
    My name is Silvia,I live in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It is a very big city with a lot of buildings. My little home is located above a small building with 4 floors and I’m at roof. I have a balcony where I grow flowers and herbs for my kitchens adventures. I’d be so happy to win the cobrahead… Don’t let me down. Pleaaaase !

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