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.
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.
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.