What all Wellington gardeners want for Christmas is warm sunshine, overnight showers and gentle breezes. But if you can’t influence any of those for your beloved gardener, you might want to try some of these more practical gifts for size. Some will fit in a stocking, others under the tree. While you’re thinking about a tree, create a New Zealand tradition by growing a pōhutukawa tree in a pot around which to stack your presents. Bring it indoors for a couple of weeks each year without the risk of dropping a single needle.
- A scarecrow battery-powered motion-activated sprinkler will protect an area over 10 metres square from dogs, cats, possums, rabbits and birds. Connect to a hose and deter intruders with a harmless but very satisfying squirt of water. (easytek.co.nz)
- The best pair of secateurs if you have sore or stiff hands use a rolling action. Fiskars make marvellous pruners and loppers. (fiskars.com)
- Boonies mean outdoor footwear with a difference. Neoprene-lined boots come in a variety of heights, designs and soles to suit your gardening terrain. (booniesfootwear.com)
- Tubtrugs are bigger and more flexible than a bucket. Wash your dog, collect your laundry, or pot up your plants in one, just not at the same time. (gubba.co.nz)
- A pair of bantams. Enjoy freshly laid eggs and free kitchen scrap disposal, plus lots of friendly chook chat and copious chicken manure for your garden. (trademe.co.nz)
- Select some seeds. Choose your own mixture or let Kings Seeds make their selections of easy-peasy vegetables, windowsill herbs or grow-your-own giants. (kingsseeds.co.nz)
- A fruit tree, on a dwarf rootstock or espaliered if space is tight. Grow a vertical fig, grapevine or pair of kiwifruit vines for shade and fruit.
- A tap timer if you water using an irrigation system or sprinkler. Manual timers are easy to use and switch off your tap after up to two hours. Others need batteries but allow you to select the duration of, and intervals between, showers.
- Solar LED lighting is a simple way to increase the use you get from your outside space, whether it’s to illuminate a path or shed, cook a barbecue or pick salad late at night. Add an LED head torch to keep in your car or bedside drawer for emergencies, slug hunting and precision sausage turning.
- A willow basket or two to carry just-dug vegetables, cut flowers or fresh eggs. (basketmaker.co.nz)
Disclosure: Rachel Knight at The Kitchen Garden (thekitchengarden.co.nz) has personally tried out all these products and recommends them on that basis. She has not been sponsored, gifted or otherwise influenced by their manufacturers or suppliers. She’d like Santa to know she’s been very good all year and would like a cruiser bike with a willow basket on the front for Christmas, please.
Five things to do in your edible garden in December
- Set up an automatic watering system or hire a reliable student to keep things from drying out if you go away over summer. A student can pick crops and feed your cat, too.
- Pinch out tomato side shoots regularly.
- Feed fruiting crops weekly with seaweed, compost or worm farm ‘tea’.
- Plant out more beans. Put zucchini and pumpkins on any compost heaps you’ve yet to shift.
- Try a few early potatoes and a couple of heads of fresh garlic for Christmas. Pick sweet home-grown strawberries for dessert, of course.[/info]