Black Friday is coming. It’s just a week away. Before you get caught up in the shopping madness, consider the full value of a product gift versus a gift that produces. Why not give everyone something that will help them create fresh food? A garden is always a gift that just keeps on giving. Indoor garden equipment, systems and accessories are a gift that produces 12 months a year. Besides, everyone is tired of getting weird sweaters!
It’s really easy for mom to start her own herbs indoor with seeds and the containers she probably has stashed in the garage, but does she have a grow light? If she’s into cooking, she will prefer fresh herbs over dried, so why not help her windowsill garden be so much happier and productive? The best choice will be a single or two-tube HO T5 fluorescent grow light with a stand that you know will fit in the windowsill. Hydrofarm makes stands in 2-ft and 4-ft sizes. They also sell Jump Start systems with stand and light. You’ll find these for sale from grow shops everywhere.
Maybe it’s dad that is the gardener in your family. He’s been growing flowers and veggies like forever. You could get him started on growing tomatoes indoors. A passive or deep water hydroponics setup and small HID light would definitely get his curiosity going, especially if he’s into gadgets too. Check out Autopot and Hydrofarm for starters.
A bit too expensive for your shopping budget? Give him some exotic indoor farming. The magic of growing fresh gourmet mushrooms is super simple, and you can get him started for well under $50 from places like Mushroom Box (UK), Back To The Roots (US), Mushroom Patch (CA), or Fungi (AU). Check out that Garden Giant in the pic on the left. (Search for King Stropharia – Stropharia rugoso-annulata kits.) They can be grown indoors or outside and will give him bragging rights on fungi prowess for sure!
Kids love growing stuff. The younger they are, the more exciting it is. Especially if it’s a fruit or vegetable they like to eat, though growing it themselves has been known to broaden a kid’s acceptance to new tastes. They grew it, and they definitely want to check it out. You could try the simple traditional approach with pots, media, seeds and a small grow light. But kids today are super tech savvy. They’ll be way more interested in high tech growing. Starting them out with an Aero Garden or one of those new Aqua Farm countertop aquaponics setups. Make sure their plants will have some good growing light. Keeping them interested hinges on success.
If you’ve got people on your gifting list that are already into growing good food, there’s always helping them improve the quality of their system or stocking up on supplies. Most indoor gardeners get started on a shoestring, whether due to budget restraints or wanting to figure it all out before investing a lot more money.
Unlike fruitcake, meters, timers, nutrients, and even growing media is always a great gift. How about garden automation? Even those who grow indoors with that old-fashioned potting mix and hand watering method can have automated watering without getting in hydroponics and grow boxes. Now there are WIFI watering services, grow room alert systems, and all sorts of cool tools that might be a great match for someone on your list. Check out: Bitponics, or GrowerBot where you can save money and assemble the system yourself.
There are always seeds. Definitely a lot smarter than a fruit basket full of old food. Their shelf life is amazing. Fruit and veggie seeds make great stocking stuffers too. Just about every organic seed house has gift certificates, so if you’re not sure what seeds the person will be most happy with, this is the safe route. Vermicompost isn’t very gifty, but Fox Farm Ocean Forest potting media is for any organic gardener. It’s excellent for indoor growing and starting outdoor garden seeds too. Don’t forget about things like germination tray heat mats or germination trays.
These are all holiday gifts that produce good food. A present that keeps on giving.
Images courtesy of Mushroom Box, Back To The Roots, and Pinterest, respectively.
If you don't find her at the desk - check the gardens. When not writing and weeding, she enjoys a good book, painting junk furniture, and blending the harvest of heirloom tomatoes and chiles into salsas.