Five Gift Ideas For Gardeners

My inspiration for this post comes from Annie’s Granny, who made this world a much brighter place by sharing her love for gardening, life and her family on her blog: Annie’s Kitchen Garden. Granny may have left the world of form last month, but her spirit truly lives on with hundreds of her followers and friends. A few years ago, she asked gardeners to Show Us Your Garden Forks. So now I’ll show you mine, again, and a few more of my favorite things.


Looking for something to give your favorite gardener? Recently I put on my thinking cap and came up with a list of gardening-related items I own and find useful and enjoyable. I’m not getting paid to endorse any of these these products either, I just find them worth recommending to others. So without further ado, here are five ideas for gifts that every gardener can use.

1. Wilcox All-Pro Trowel

It’s no secret that I love my Wilcox trowels. They are without a doubt the best and most sturdy trowels I have ever used. They are made from stainless steel, unbreakable, unbending, and nearly indestructible. They have a bright red plastic handle, which makes them easy to find if you leave them out in the garden as I sometimes do. And the business end of the trowel comes to a sharpened point, which makes them great for digging in heavy soils, removing rocks, and cutting through tough roots.

collection of Wilcox trowels (click on any image to enlarge)

collection of Wilcox trowels (click on any image to enlarge)

In autumn of 2012 I misplaced one of my trusty Wilcox trowels while working down at the Impact Community Garden. I figured it had gotten buried in the mulch, and would turn up eventually. It just happened to be my oldest one of my collection of trowels (see above photo), so I was very happy when I found it while tilling there the next spring. It’s the top one in the below photo, reunited with its cousin trowel. Gotta love a trowel that survives being buried all winter, then meeting up with a killer tiller!

Wilcox trowels

Wilcox trowels

Many of the models have a built-in depth gauge incised on the blade, in both inches and centimeters. That is useful to judge the depth of the planting hole, and also to measure the distance between planting holes. I use this feature a lot. These trowels can be a little hard to find, but they are available from several sources online (including Amazon). And they have the added bonus of being made in the U.S. The 14 inch model 202S is the one I use the most.

closeup of trowel blade

closeup of trowel blade

2. Rogue Garden Hoe

Every gardener can use a good garden hoe. They are indispensable for weeding, moving soil, even for making a furrow to sow seeds. Over the years, I’ve managed to collect quite a few hoes of all different types, from swan hoes to stirrup types and good old ‘paddle’ hoes. But the one I keep reaching for lately is my trusty Rogue model 55G. Rogue hoes are made from tempered steel that comes from recycled farm disc blades, and are sturdy and no-nonsense tools. I did a review on them in 2012, and I’ll include a link to it here.

Rogue 55g hoe

Rogue 55g hoe

These hoes are very well made, with sturdy ash handles and a nice balanced feel to them. The cutting edges are razor sharp, and hold an edge nicely when resharpened. I also have the 65G and 70F models, and they all get a lot of use here. For a gift that is recycled and made in the U.S., the Rogue hoes are hard to beat.

closeup of Rogue 65G hoe

closeup of Rogue 65G hoe

3. Lee Valley Stainless Steel Digging Fork

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, a good digging fork is a thing to behold. Of all the tools a gardener uses, digging forks and shovels are probably subjected to the most amount of stress and abuse. I’ve owned several digging forks in my life, and my current favorite one is a stainless steel model that I got from Lee Valley Tools. It’s not the cheapest digging fork on the market, nor is it the most expensive, but it gets the job done for me.

Lee Valley stainless steel digging fork

Lee Valley stainless steel digging fork

Mine has a tubular steel handle covered with molded plastic. The steel handle holds up to any task I ask it to perform. And I really appreciate the stainless steel tines, which clean up easily and won’t rust when I leave them stuck in the ground or compost pile. I also have one of their stainless steel transplant spades, and it is as well-made and durable as the digging fork.

closeup of head of stainless steel digging fork

closeup of head of stainless steel digging fork

4. G-Tek MaxiFlex Gloves

In the past, I generally did not wear gloves when gardening. I like to be able to get a ‘feel’ for the plants and soil while I work, and loose fitting or bulky gloves make that difficult for me. But recently someone gave me a pair of G-Tek MaxiFlex gloves to try. And I have to say I love them! Model 34-875 is a nitrile dipped knit nylon glove that is lightweight, breathable and comfortable to wear. The outside is also treated to repel water and oil, and the gloves are flexible enough to let me work with sheets of newspaper for mulch as well as delicate young seedlings. But they are also tough enough to let me handle rusty tomato cages without staining my hands, and work with bamboo poles and wooden stakes without getting splinters. The elastic cuff also helps to keep soil from getting inside your glove while you’re working.

G-Tek MaxiFlex glove

G-Tek MaxiFlex glove

The gloves are available from several sources online. At around $5 per pair (less if you buy in bulk), they last much longer than brown jersey gloves, but aren’t so expensive you feel guilty when you finally have to throw them away and get a new pair. And they aren’t just good for gardening either. They are handy to have on hand for any other chore where you need a lightweight but durable glove. There are many other models of these gloves available so there’s truly one out there for everyone.

another view of MaxiFlex glove

another view of MaxiFlex glove

5. A Good Read

There are many good reference books about gardening out there. That is probably a subject for a list all its own. But what about something different? What about other types of books about gardeners or gardening? Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver is one of my all-time favorite inspirational books with a gardening theme. It chronicles a family that decides to grow their own food for a full year. And Gardening at the Dragon’s Gate by Wendy Johnson is a combination of practical and ethereal. The author shares her wealth of gardening knowledge along with a love of the planet and all creatures living on it. The chapter on compost is worth the price of the book alone.

Inspirational books for gardeners

Inspirational books for gardeners

Want something humorous? Try The $64 Dollar Tomato, by William Alexander. The full title, The $64 Tomato: How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for the Perfect Garden pretty much says it all about this book. The chapter about his battle with Superchuck, the groundhog that was eating his expensive heirloom tomatoes, will have you either laughing out loud or nodding your head in sympathy. Or perhaps, like me, you will be doing both.

Humorous and practical books for gardeners

Humorous and practical books for gardeners

And This Organic Life: Confessions of a Suburban Homesteader by Joan Dye Gussow is another inspirational book I enjoyed reading. Gussow is a nutritionist, gardener, and passionate advocate for eating locally and seasonally.

I hope you have enjoyed this list of my best gift ideas for the gardener in your life. I’ll be back soon with more happenings here at Happy Acres.

 

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11 Responses to Five Gift Ideas For Gardeners

  1. Daphne says:

    The $64 Dollar Tomato (which I’ve never read but had heard about) in combination with Burpee’s claim that you can grow $2000 worth of veggies by spending $25 on a seed collection, that made me start doing my tally every week. I knew the reality was somewhere in between, but I wanted to know if my hobby was costing me or paying me back. Not that I was going to change things either way as I love gardening, but I was curious.

    My favorite gloves are the Atlas nitrile gloves. They tightly fit my hand so I can do work where I need to feel things, and they come in all sorts of pastel colors (I’m partial to lavender). Or course they fit a woman well. I have no clue if they have men’s versions.

    And oh how I love my trowels too. I have no idea if they are Wilcox brand or not, but they look just like them including the measure marking on the back. Though I don’t have any leather loops. They are amazingly strong. Once I found them I’ve never bought another trowel. And I used to have to keep buying trowels to replace the ones that broke, but no more. These live forever. They are pricey, but worth it. Though I do still lose them in the garden at times. Even with the bright handle.
    Daphne recently posted…Clearning Out and Planting UpMy Profile

    • Dave says:

      Not all of the trowels came with the leather loop. I can’t say I ever use it, though I guess it might be handy for hanging up.

      I do believe there is a better selection of women’s gardening gloves than for men. At least ones that fit nicely. Maybe it’s because I have smaller hands, and most men’s gloves are too big.

  2. Michelle says:

    I’ve got a birthday looming, and I can’t think of a better gift (honey, are you listening?) than a set of those trowels.

    This is a great list and I agree with you wholeheartedly about the need for a good garden fork. I have one that I got years ago from Smith and Hawkin before they got too upscale for their own good. I like it because it has a short handle and I’m somewhat short and it works perfectly for me, it will be difficult to replace when the time comes. Fortunately it is very sturdy and has held up to a lot of abuse. Technically though my fork is a spading fork with flatter tines which makes it easier to dig with.

    Now I think I will have to go to the library website and put a couple of those books onto my reading list. I’ve read the $64 Tomato which I thought was definitely a fun read. And I loved Animal Vegetable Miracle too.

  3. Julie says:

    Those look like great gifts for any gardener. Now I really want one of those Wilcox trowels. The tip broke off my trowel and that just doesn’t work so well for clay soil. I will be adding that to my wishlist. I also may have to try those gloves. I rarely wear gloves because I also want to feel the plants and dirt too, but my fingers and nails do not appreciate my gloveless gardening.
    Julie recently posted…Tomato WeavingMy Profile

  4. Margaret says:

    Wonderful list – I especially love the trowels & am putting those on my wish list. For my birthday my husband gave me several dozen 2×6’s for the new raised beds and the soil to fill them with. People would often raise their eyebrows when they asked what he gave me and I told them dirt & lumber. BEST presents ever 🙂
    Margaret recently posted…My Garden Plans – 2014My Profile

  5. Thanks for sharing this post at The Green Thumb Thursday Garden Blog Hop. I will be featuring this fabulous post on this upcoming blog hop.
    I particularly like your review on the Rogue Garden Hoe. We have been looking for one that will hold a good sharp edge! I will be checking into this one.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Tanya @ Seven Springs Homestead recently posted…Pig Progress: Fat and HappyMy Profile

    • Dave says:

      Thanks for featuring me Tanya! And I have nothing but good things to say about Rogue hoes. They aren’t paying me to say that either. 😀

  6. Pingback: Green Thumb Thursday Blog Hop Featuring Five Gift Ideas For Gardeners | Seven Springs Homestead

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