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every gardener needs a basket or twoWhat 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 chook's not just for Christmas

  1. 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. (
  2. The best pair of secateurs if you have sore or stiff hands use a rolling action. Fis­kars make mar­vel­lous pru­ners and lop­pers. (
  3. Boon­ies mean out­door foot­wear with a dif­fer­ence. Neo­prene-lined boots come in a vari­ety of heights, designs and soles to suit your garden­ing ter­rain. (
  4. 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. (
  5. 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. (
  6. 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. (
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. A wil­low bas­ket or two to carry just-dug veget­ables, cut flowers or fresh eggs. (

Dis­clos­ure: Rachel Knight at The Kit­chen Garden ( 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.

espaliered fruit trees will fit in a tight spot


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]


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