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Mason Bees: 5 reasons you want them in your garden!

Garden Friends

You’ve heard about the bee… but have you heard about the mason bee? There are approximately 20,000 known species of bee on this planet, and 139 of those species are mason bees. If you’ve never heard of them, let me fill you in a bit because these little critters are amazing! I think they are amazing… can you tell? Lol!  I get excited about animals sometimes.  Let me share a little and then let’s see if you are a little excited too 😉

Here are some of the reasons I love mason bees:

1. Mason Bees are a solitary species, meaning they don’t live in a hive. Most people think of a hive when they think of a bee, but that’s because the honeybee lives in a hive. The honeybee is the most well known, but it is definitely not the only bee.  Mason bees are beneficial to us as gardeners because we don’t need to become beekeepers to enlist their help in our garden. 

2. Mason Bees are non-aggressive and don’t sting. Whaaat? A bee that doesn’t sting?  Yep, that’s correct. They can sting, but it’s incredibly rare. Honeybees have a queen and a hive to protect, and they will give their life to do so. Did you know that when a bee stings you they die? It’s true.. And sad! If they feel threatened, they will sting to protect their hive. Mason bees, however, don’t have a queen and a hive to protect… so they are nice and carefree. They are the safest bee around pets and children for this reason.

3. Solitary bees make up a little over 90% of the total bee populations. It’s true! The poor solitary bees… they don’t get any credit, yet they make up almost all the bees on the planet. Those honeybees get all the attention! You’ve almost certainly seen a mason bee and didn’t even know it.  

4. Mason Bees get their name because of their use of mud, like a mason. This is so cool!  Since they don’t have a hive to lay their eggs in, the females find natural holes or cracks in trees, logs, or any man-made structure they can. After they breed, the female starts laying her eggs in the back of the hole or crack.  Then she packs in pollen and nectar for food and puts a layer of mud to section off that egg.  Once the hole or crack is full, she then seals it with more mud to keep the eggs safe.

5. Mason bees have a 95% pollination rate vs. the honeybee’s 5%. Mason bees are the superheroes of the bee world. Honeybees collect pollen and nectar for their hive. Everything the honeybee gathers is literally for the hive. The mason bee, however, doesn’t have a hive to give the pollen and nectar to.  For this reason, the mason bee carries more pollen on its body when it is traveling from flower to flower. Also, the mason bee is a very furry bee, meaning that it has more hair that the pollen sticks to. The combination of having a furry body and not needing to give the pollen to a hive sends their pollination rate through the roof! 

OK… I’m checking in with you?…. Are you at least a little excited about these critters? They are kinda cool, right?

There are so many amazing animals on this planet. I truly believe that we can do a better job of living in balance with nature. The first step is learning about them! YAY! If you are reading this, it means you now know a little about the mason bees. The next step is to adjust what you are doing to help them thrive. It doesn’t always take huge effort to help many of the animals that live around us. Encouraging the mason bees to live in your yard and garden is a perfect example of that. To learn more about how to encourage mason bees to live in your garden, keep an eye out for our Friends In Your Garden micro-course coming soon.

Carrie Sylvester
Wildlife and Eco Educator

Carrie has lived and worked with animals her entire life. She is driven by a passion to help the animals and planet through her teaching. She began her professional career as aRegistered Veterinary Technician. After spending a total of 10 years in veterinary hospitals, she returned to school to study Animal Training, Zoo Keeping, and Wildlife Education. In these three categories, she has had the privilege of working at the Los Angeles Zoo with the California Condors, training dogs and many exotic animals (including a Wolf and Mountain Lion), and providing hands-on live animal education programs to thousands of children. Following her dream of providing impactful education, she has been the director of a Zoo Day Camp for children and founded a non-profit organization. This passion has now met the world of gardening as she fulfills another dream… having a big, healthy, organic garden!

Holiday Garden Wishlist Staff Picks 2022

Enjoying Your Harvest

Finding the right holiday gift for a gardener isn’t easy. Gifts that often appear helpful aren’t. And sometimes the ones that seem mundane can be fantastic. It can take years for growers to find gadgets and supplies they love. So how can friends and family find the perfect garden gifts this holiday season? We’ve got you covered! Here’s the top ten most useful and exciting products on the market for your holiday gift list.

Want the complete Garden Gift Guide? Download it for free here!

Ease the holiday frenzy so you can relax and have more time with your loved ones with the Grow Your Own Vegetables 2021 Holiday Garden Gift Guide.

Gift Guide 3D Image

Give The Gift of Time

Even when a garden is optimized, growers typically spend 40% of their time harvesting. That’s almost half our total time in the garden! That’s why this tool can make all the difference. Check out these 5 Blade Scissors!

Garden Like A Superhero

Okay, this tool isn’t going to make you more powerful than a locomotive, but you will be able to prune with 3 times the cutting power with the Fiskars 32-Inch PowerGear Bypass Lopper. Made with reinforced fiberglass composite, these loppers are lighter than the competitors.

It also sports a unique gear technology giving you more power without straining to cut. You can easily cut branches up to 2” (5cm) in diameter with this puppy.

PLUS, the corrosion-resistant, non-stick, fully hardened blade means it will last a lifetime. In fact, they stand behind their product with a lifetime warranty and their claim to pruning fame: “This superior- grade tool is lighter, stronger, and more powerful than anything you’ve ever used.”

The Small But Mighty Gift

For  smaller pruning tasks, check out our favorite hand pruner, the Bypass Pruner by Corona. Because no two hands are alike and this pruner was designed with that in mind. The flex dial allows you to set the pruners to match YOUR hand size and to adjust to the size branches you’re cutting, reducing hand fatigue.

Combined with the full steel core handles and ComfortGEL grips for superior comfort it’s no wonder these pruners were a 2017 finalist in the International Design Excellence Awards.

Garden Smarter, Not Harder with these INSTANT Raised Beds

Garden set ups are often extremely costly both in time and money. And if you’re just starting out, on a tight budget, or renting your home, you don’t want to spend a bunch of money and time on your garden set up. That’s why GYOV staff members consider these the best thing since sliced bread:

100 Gallon Raised Bed Grow Bags

These grow bags are just over 4 feet (1.2 m) in diameter and 12″ (30cm) deep. They have reinforced handles for transport and are reusable lasting three years in normal gardening conditions. And the best part? They are only $29.99 each. That’s only $10 per year for a whole raised bed.

While these raised bed grow bags are great for anyone who wants to grow, they are perfect for gardeners just setting up and those on the go. They’re also great for gardeners with physical limitations since they eliminate heavy lifting of infrastructure material hauling. Best of all, they are ZERO labor. Buy, open, fill with soil media, and start growing!

Built to last, even commercial growers use them. With superior aeration and drainage to raised beds with solid sides. In fact, the only products that Bootstrap Farmer sells are ones they use on their farm. So if you’re looking for the perfect raised bed for your gardener, this 100 Gallon Grow Bag is where it’s at.

Want to get more than one? Get 3 for $69.99. AND. they’re sustainable and made of food safe recycled plastic and felt. Need something bigger? Check out the 200 gal bags.
 Need something smaller? They’ve got grow bags in 4, 5, 7, 10, 25 gallon sizes too.

The Micro-Dream Tray

Recommended by GYOV staff member and commercial microgreen grower, these trays are one of a kind! So many of the trays on the market are downright junk and you’ll be lucky if you get two plantings from them. Not these trays! Meet the most amazing microgreen tray on the market.

These extra strength 5×5 trays (AKA 801 inserts) are made of heavy duty, recycled, food grade, polypropylene plastic and guaranteed not to warp or break. We were skeptical, so we personally put them to the test! The result? We can’t imagine growing our micros without them ever again.

These trays are great for anyone wanting variety! Fitting eight 5×5 trays to one 1020 flat, these trays reduce environmental waste, AND save you money. The design provides better drainage than competing trays, saving you even more with reduced crop loss. As an added bonus, we ran them through the dishwasher with no problem. Say goodbye to flimsy non-sustainable trays for good with Bootstrap Farmers’ superior quality 5×5 Microgreen Trays.

The ULTIMATE Container Garden: The Garden Tower® 2

Grow up to 50 plants and vegetables in 4 sq. feet (1.2 sq meters) with this Garden Tower! We were blown away by how much thought went into the materials and design of this indoor / outdoor growing container.

The Materials
The Garden Tower® 2 is made of 100% food grade HDPE (non-toxic, BPA & PVC free plastic), FDA-approved dye and UV-protection for health, durability, and it’s recyclable! 💪🏽

The Unique Design
Supporting up to 1,000 lbs, the feet allow the tower to be anchored securely to any platform while still being able to rotate 360° for optimized sun exposure and growing in tight spaces

Planting pockets allow for easy planting and fast harvesting.

For mobile growing, you can get the Premium Caster Kit.

With a patented GT2 vermicomposting tube right down the center, you can compost directly into the tower where plant roots can access nutrients and oxygen from the perforated holes.

Compost release gate allows for seasonal removal of finished compost not used by the plants & provides for aeration from below.

Removable compost/nutrient tea drawer can collect up to two gallons of nutrient enriched water for another pass by plant roots.

The Garden Tower®2 is perfect for growing lettuces, herbs, kale, chard, smaller varieties of peppers and other plants with smaller root systems. To top it all off, it comes with a whopping 5-year manufacturer warranty. This container can last up to twelve years in the harshest of climates!

With all the thought that went into this special grow container, it’s no wonder it was recently named the “Worlds Most Advanced Container Garden.”

The only question we have for the company is, ‘Is there anything you didn’t think of!?’ Order this unique container at their website here.

Want the complete Garden Gift Guide? Download it for free here!

Ease the holiday frenzy so you can relax and have more time with your loved ones with the Grow Your Own Vegetables 2021 Holiday Garden Gift Guide.

Gift Guide 3D Image
NOTE:  This article contains affiliate links and Grow Your Own Vegetables, LLC may be compensated when you click and purchase through the links above. By purchasing through these links, you’re supporting our mission to help green the planet and create food stable communities across the globe. We only recommend products we LOVE and that help growers on their quest for a fresh food lifestyle.

A Breath of Fresh Air

Garden Products

If you are finding yourself concerned about the quality of the air you are breathing, you are not alone. 

Between wildfire smoke, viruses, bacteria, allergens and air pollution, your concerns are well founded. 

When it comes to air purifiers, we use and endorse the AirDoctor as a trusted product and we have a special offer to share with you. (Photo of Denise, co-CEO of Grow Your Own Vegetables, and her AirDoctor)

Air Doctor Image

This product is for you if you want to protect yourself and your family from: 

• Wildfires are on the rise. According to National Geographic, “increasing heat, changing rain and snow patterns, shifts in plant communities, and other climate-related changes have vastly increased the likelihood that fires will start more often and burn more intensely and widely than they have in the past.”

• Airborne chemicals and pollutants from burned buildings or other man-made things. “Dangerous levels of lead in smoke blowing downwind as the fire burned through Paradise, California. The metals, which have been linked to health harms including high blood pressure and developmental effects in children with long-term exposure, traveled more than 150 miles on the wind.” 

• Viruses and bacteria. The EPA states that “When used along with other best practices recommended by CDC and other public health agencies, including social distancing and mask wearing, filtration can be part of a plan to reduce the potential for airborne transmission of COVID-19 indoors. Portable air cleaners (also known as air purifiers) may be particularly helpful when additional ventilation with outdoor air is not possible without compromising indoor comfort (temperature or humidity), or when outdoor air pollution is high.” 

• Recent increased pollen levels. Landscapes have an overabundance of male trees because they are “easier” to grow; however this has led to an increase in pollen levels and a longer pollen season. Health experts estimate that 35 million Americans suffer from upper respiratory tract symptoms that are allergic reactions to airborne allergens. Pollen allergy, commonly called hay fever, is one of the most common chronic diseases in the United States.”

Meet the AirDoctor:

AIr Doctor Particles

For a limited time, you can save up to $300 on an AirDoctor. There are 3 models to choose from. 

>> Learn more about the AirDoctor special offer here

*Currently, these are only shipped in the United States and Canada.

The air you breathe can greatly affect your health. Breathing polluted or unclean air can cause significant health issues, from allergy or asthma flare-ups to increasing the risk of diseases. 

You and your family deserve to breathe clean air. 

Cited articles: 
https://www.nationalgeograph
ic.com/science/article/climate-change-increases-risk-fires-western-us
https://theconversation.com/whats-in-wildfire-smoke-a-toxicologist-explains-the-health-risks-and-which-masks-can-help-164597 
https://www.epa.gov/coronavirus/air-cleaners-hvac-filters-and-coronavirus-covid-19 
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/may/16/how-urban-planners-preference-for-male-trees-has-made-your-hay-fever-worse
http://www.drrobertoliver.com/files/QFlOTF/Airborne-Allergens.pdf
This article contains a link to a product from one of our business partners. If you click and take action, Grow Your Own Vegetables LLC may be compensated. We only recommend products that we love and that, in our opinion, can be helpful to you as a home gardener. We recommend that you do your own independent research before purchasing anything. The listed product offer may change by the Seller and Grow Your Own Vegetables is not responsible for any dated or changed offers.

Superfood Garden Summit Sponsor: GARDEN TOWER

Garden Gifts

Indoor gardening for BIG harvests

There’s a tool we want to share that is especially useful if you…

♥ Don’t have a lot of space to plant
♥ You want to have a garden that can grow food year round

You see gardening in a tiny space teaches you a lot… but it can also be challenging!

♥ You never feel like you can grow EVERYTHING you want!
♥ You wonder if your plants are getting enough sunlight, nutrients, or water to get the harvest you saw on the seed packet.
♥ It’s easy to feel a little envious when one of your friends posts a picture of their full, lush garden planted in 4 raised beds in their backyard.

We know all those feelings…
But what we want to show you today solves a LOT of these issues.
It lets you take small-plot growing to a whole new level (and we love it!):

♥ You can grow over 50 different, individual plants and vegetables in just 4 sq. feet! That’s less space than most coat closets.
♥ You can grow indoors or outdoors however you like. Perfect for growing year round in any climate!
♥ This tool lets you vermicompost right inside your garden! No need to move compost around or waste food scraps. Plus all those wonderful vermicompost nutrients end up right in your food!
♥ You’ll be able to use this tool for years to come… it lasts for up to 12 years even in harsh climates.
♥ It’s 100% safe for the environment and your family (no BPA or PVC toxins leaching into your foods)!

So what is this tool we are so excited to show you?

It’s the Garden Tower 2 from our friends over at the Garden Tower Project.
(Keep reading to find out how to save an additional $40 on your Garden Tower 2)

 

Save the Bee Logo

It is actually one of the Grow Your Own Vegetables Team’s favorite gardening products!

Yes, it does look a little strange… but the harvests from your garden tower will definitely make your mouth water! 😋

AND here’s the cherry tomato on top. We talked to the Garden Tower folks and asked if they could get YOU a special deal since you’re a Grow Your Own Vegetables reader… They said YES!

As a sponsor of our Superfood Garden Summit, they’re willing to give you $40 off your next Garden Tower with a special discount code! Simply email Support@GrowYourOwnVegetables.org and ask our Support Team for the code.

The Garden Tower Project makes all their garden towers right in the USA. So they are able to keep up with all the people new to gardening! 

Part of the reason we like it so much is that it is simple to use. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or an experienced gardener. It’s easy to set up and only takes 6 cu. feet of soil to fill completely. Then you just add water, compost scraps, and worms as needed.

Go check Out Our Favorite Product, The Garden Tower 2
Be sure to email Support@GrowYourOwnVegetables.org and request a coupon code so they know The Team at Grow Your Own Vegetables sent you. 🙂

Who knows… maybe you’ll be sharing YOUR huge harvest from your Garden Tower in our Facebook group soon! 🍅🌱🍆🍠

Superfood Garden Summit is happy to have the Garden Tower Project as a Summit Sponsor.

Attend the Summit and learn more about the Garden Tower 2.  

5th Annual SGS w_Berries (1)
This article contains links to a product that we are a referral partner for. If you click and take action, Grow Your Own Vegetables LLC may be compensated. We only recommend products that we love and that we know can be helpful to you as a gardener.

Build Your Own Garden Essentials Holiday Gift Basket

Garden Products

There’s no better gift than a gift of health this year! When you help your loved ones garden, you are boosting their immunity and improving the quality of their life. They will thank you all year round… and maybe even send you garden-fresh food in appreciation. 

Whether you’re shopping for a loved one who is new to growing food or a seasoned gardener or anything in between, we’ve got you covered. Get quality essential garden tools and soil fertility supplies so you can save time, work with ease, and maximize your harvest yield and nutrition. And for all you folks who love to give gag gifts and stocking stuffers, check out the fun bonus section!

A Tip for Gift Shopping in A COVID Economy 

This year, it’s all about finding new ways to celebrate our family and community. How special will the gardener in your life feel when you get together with friends and family and pool your resources for a unique gift. Tell everyone to ship one or two garden items to you, then you can create a customized basket. Make sure each item is labeled with the gift giver’s name. And remember to have everyone send a sweet card wishing them an abundant first harvest. 

The Number One Gift Every Grower Needs

The number one tool every new grower needs first is a good garden mentor that can show them the ropes, empower them and support them when they come up against challenges. This is what GrowYourOwnVegetables.org is all about. Here’s three programs that provide the best garden instruction for everyday people. You don’t need a science degree to grow amazing food, just easy to understand lessons.. And right now, take advantage of bonuses worth hundreds of dollars when you grab these courses today. 

 

The Grow Your Own Vegetables Course is ideal for step-by-step methodical people who like thorough instruction and a solid foundation. It’s everything you need to grow any vegetable or herb, anywhere.

The How to Grow $400 of Vegetables & Herbs in 40 Days Course is great for beginners and self starters that want quick results their first 40 days of growing. It’s a fun 40-day garden adventure to kickstart your garden fast.

 

The Superfood Garden Summit features the top garden experts & visionaries to help you create a garden supercharged with nutrients

Holiday Gift Basket: Choose Your Garden Harvest Container

When you’re building your Holiday garden gift basket for your loved one, forget placing the gifts in an actual basket. Instead, use the container as an opportunity to give your loved one of the most essential garden supplies: a harvest container. 

Our top choices for harvest containers are great for small, household gardens. They were chosen based on the following criteria: durability, ease of use, , and multi-functionality. 

RSVP Green Polyester Collapsible Market Basket with Pocket:
This tear and water resistant harvest basket doubles as a basket for grocery shopping. How cool is that?!

 

SAMMART 2.37 Gallon Collapsible Tub with Handle:
BPA Free Collapsible Tub doubles as a basket for grocery shopping too. Plus an extra feature: throw it in the dishwasher for easy washing!

Multipurpose Garden Harvest Basket Mod Hod Blue:
Harvesting fresh from the garden can bring unwanted soil inside This Garden Harvest Basket is ideal for rinsing your harvest outside so you keep your kitchen clean.

Garden Hod, Small:
This wood and metal harvest container makes this the eco-friendly choice. PLUS, it allows you to wash your harvest outside while it’s still IN the basket so you keep your kitchen clean.

Our top harvest container choice for large garden harvests is none other than the original Tub Trug with the flexible 3.7 gallon colander. This flexible and extremely durable harvest container is the number one garden container for all your garden tasks. Made from 100% food grade plastic, these containers are frost and UV resistant!

Great for:

– Collecting and transporting weeds, making weeding easier with less mess.
– Carrying compost and amendments along while you plant seeds and seedlings, You can even DRAG it preventing awkward hauling of bulky bags.
– Washing harvests so you keep the soil out of your kitchen.
– Collecting larger harvests in the garden eliminating back and forth trips.

Holiday Gift Basket Garden Essentials 

When it comes to gardening, there is such a thing as too many tools. The more tools you have, the more cleaning and upkeep you do and the more things you lug around the garden. So when it comes to the essentials, less is best. The most important tools for growers are gloves, pruners and a set of hand tools.

A growers gloves should not be big and bulky (we aren’t going snowboarding here!), but rather be thinner and mold to the growers hands. Showa Atlas Nitrile Garden Gloves are one of the most beloved gloves among gardeners… and for good reason! They’re tough and feel like a second skin.
 

The Flex Dial Bypass Pruners will be the best pruners you’ll 
EVER have. Do your hands get tired pruning and harvesting? 
Adjustable grip fits YOUR hand & reduces fatigue during 
repetitive cuts. Includes full steel core & ComfortGEL Grips.

Choosing a hand tool set is so important! A gardener’s work is physical so it’s vital to care for your body and avoid unnecessary strain. Even having the proper tools can put stress on your body if they are poorly designed or not super durable. 

Originally made for people with arthritis, these stainless steel tools are really just good for anyone wanting to take care of their body. They feature non-slip soft grip handles that keep hands and wrists in a neutral position, taking the stress off hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders and backs with the ergonomic design. Choose the long handled set for your loved ones who need to sit while gardening more often and those who are wheelchair bound.

More Holiday Garden Essentials Gifts

If you’re looking for a more complete garden gift basket for your loved ones, the following list are supply essentials that increase productivity and help growers maximize the nutrition and yields of harvests.

Journaling is essential for planning and improving garden skills. But gardening and paper just don’t mix well. When we found this Waterproof and Reusable Journal, we were stoked! YES, seriously… this awesome tear resistant paper is 100% waterproof so you can journal in your garden without worrying about damage. Stone paper is manufactured with ZERO trees with a tiny water footprint so it’s super eco friendly. Plus, it’s REUSABLE if used with Frixion pens.
Nowadays there are all kinds of digital measuring gadgets for growers. They’re very expensive and most aren’t necessary for a successful harvest. And when you’re just starting out, the high-tech garden gizmos can actually make gardening more confusing for new growers. Stick to simplicity with this 3-in-1 Soil Meter that measures the three most important factors for a successful garden all at once! No Battery Needed. Measures pH, moisture, and light.
Every gardener should have a good quality watering wand that quickly and deeply saturates the garden soil without damaging plants. The Dramm One Touch Rain Wand is a GYOV team favorite. The 16” wand allows complete and total water flow control with just one touch of your thumb.

PRO TIP: For successful gardening, watering less often and more deeply is best for plant health. The best method for deep watering is to water lightly, then come back and water more deeply after about 10-15 minutes.

The Holiday Garden Premium Gift Basket Additions

Of course there can be no gardening without seeds and soil fertility! But before we showcase our unique seed finds, you should know: garden set ups are often extremely costly. And if you’re just starting, on a tight budget, or renting your home, you may not want to spend a bunch of money and time on garden set ups only to walk away later. That’s why we love these!

100 Gallon Raised Bed Grow Bags These 4 feet (1.2 meters) diameter, 12 inches (30cm) deep bags have reinforced handles for transport, and they are durable! They last three years in normal gardening conditions. And the best part? They are only $29.99 each. That’s only $10 per year for a whole raised bed. 

Perfect for:

– New gardeners
– Gardeners on the Go
– Growers with physical limitations
– Busy Growers who need to have it done already!

Buy, open, fill with raised bed soil media, and start growing! Built to last, even commercial growers use them. So if you’re looking for the perfect raised bed for your gardener, the 100 Gallon Grow Bag is where it’s at. Need something deeper? Check out the 200 gal bags.
 Oh, and they’re also sustainable, made of food safe recycled plastic and felt!

Garden Holiday Gift Basket Top 3 for Soil Fertility

Soil Fertility is EVERYTHING! Studies show that about 80% of all pest and disease issues come from less than ideal soil conditions. And while chances are your gardener will need more than what might fit in your harvest gift basket, a sampler pack can help set your new grower on the right path. And for seasoned growers, a sampler pack can help them experiment with soil fertility options they might not yet know about.

Worm Poop: Studies show that worm castings improve your plants ability to resist pests and disease. That’s why so many growers add this before planting all their seeds and transplants. Recent analysis of the Urban Worm Company’s castings shows high humic content and nitrogen cycling microbes. And, they’ve got a perfect 2 pound sample bag!
Bio Char: Biochar reduces nutrient leaching and the bioavailability of contaminants in our soils while increasing water retention, microbial life, and overall soil health. It’s superb for increasing your harvest yields and nutrient density. Check out Aries 4- Quart Green Biochar Soil Amendment. It’s the perfect size for a garden gift basket!
Azomite Trace Minerals: Trace minerals should be replaced once a year. This slow release mineralization is vital to plant health and azomite has over 70 trace minerals. The Nitron AZOMITE is micronized into a fine powder that can be applied dry or easily dissolved in water for application. Pro Tip: Apply azomite with a spice shaker.

Garden Holiday Gift Basket Seed Collections

For gift baskets, variety is where it’s at! Luckily, Botanical Interests has a fabulous selection of seed collections. Here’s a list of our favorite collections and who they’re best suited for:

Baby Greens: This collection is great for brand new growers who are dedicated to a healthy lifestyle full of fresh, nutrient dense food or anyone who wants to add a handful of health to every meal. Also a good choice for indoor winter growing.

Chef’s Herb Garden: Some herbs (like rosemary) can be a little tricky to germinate, but overall, this herb collection is a great choice for those interested in a kitchen herb garden and people who just want to dip their toes into the gardening world.

Container Veg: This collection is a great choice for container gardening, raised bed gardening and gardening in small spaces. It’s also a good option for new growers who want to dive in to gardening and learn how to grow a variety of fresh food.

The Heirloom Collection: This collection is for growers with at least a few seasons worth of experience. But we don’t want to deter new growers from going all in either! If your new but you’re diving straight into larger scale homestead gardening, this collection is an amazing collection of seeds. All these open pollinated varieties have been around for at least half a century. Pro Tip: Store seeds in a cool dry dark environment. An airtight container in the fridge works well. They will last much longer this way.

Fall Veg Collection: When most people start growing, they immediately head for the summer season vegetables like our beloved juicy tomatoes! But warm season crops can be more challenging than the cooler season crops. That’s why we like the fall garden collection for new growers. Start with the easy wins like radishes, beets, and kale in the cooler weather of fall… and bonus! These crops can be grown in spring too so you get double the harvest!

Stocking Stuffers and Gag Gifts

The holidays aren’t complete without fun! So we’ve put together a list of some fun stocking stuffers and gag gifts.

 

The Funky Veg Kit:

Taste the rainbow with purple carrots, striped tomatoes, red Brussel sprouts and Bright Lights Chard! The Funky Veg Kit sports 20 non-GMO seeds per variety, the perfect amount for a small vibrant colored garden.

 

Save the Bees Wildflower Seed Bombs:

Wildflowers are beautiful and attract bees and butterflies for pollination! Eight “Throw N’ Grow” organic seed bombs (chemical-free & non-GMO). We love this idea for people who want to have some outside fun with the kids.

The Ultimate Garden Gag Gifts

Authentic Flying Reindeer Droppings: For all the sunflower lovers out there, the non-GMO, pesticide free sunflower seed reindeer poop is sure to bring a laugh this season!
Authentic Elf Droppings: Give your gardener non-GMO, pesticide free vegetable seeds and a laugh with these compost and clay seed pods, err… elf poo! Not just a great gift but a great ice breaker for parties.
Heads up!  This article contains affiliate links. If you click on them and take action, I may be compensated. We choose these products carefully. We have a strict policy of only recommending products we LOVE that will help growers on their journey to a fresh food lifestyle!… well, okay, the elf and reindeer poop is just for fun… but joy is a big part of gardening too, just like the holidays. We hope your season is filled with joy, love, laughter, fresh food flavors, and let’s not forget… health! 

Holiday Garden WishList – Top Ten Garden Tools for 2020

Garden Products

Finding the right holiday gift for a gardener isn’t easy. Gifts that often appear helpful aren’t. And sometimes the ones that seem mundane can be fantastic. It can take years for growers to find gadgets and supplies they love. So how can friends and family find the perfect garden gifts this holiday season? We’ve got you covered! Here’s the top ten most useful and exciting products on the market for your holiday gift list.

#10 The Gift of Time

Even when a garden is optimized, growers typically spend 40% of their time harvesting. That’s almost half our total time in the garden! That’s why this tool can make all the difference. Check out these 5 Blade Scissors!

Why waste time harvesting your food, hauling it inside, pulling out the cutting board and knife, and using a bunch of energy and time chopping? Just grab the scissors and cut your harvest right into the bowl! And with five blades, you’ll save even more time and energy.

Check out the Video Review Here 

Even when you harvest leaves you want to wash first, you’ll spend one 80% less time and energy cutting with these 5 blade scissors. Plus, these multi-blade scissors come with their own special cleaning tool, making clean up a breeze.

#9 Garden Like A Superhero

Okay, so while this tool isn’t going to make you more powerful than a locomotive, you will be able to prune with 3 times the cutting power with the Fiskars 32-Inch PowerGear Bypass Lopper.

Fiskars makes great products in general, but this Lopper is made with reinforced fiberglass composite making it lighter than others.

It also sports a unique gear technology giving you more power without straining your hands, wrists and muscles cutting those thick branches. In fact, you can easily cut branches that are up to 2” (5cm) in diameter with this puppy. And the corrosion-resistant, non-stick, fully hardened blade means it will last a lifetime. In fact, they stand behind their product with a lifetime warranty and their claim to pruning fame: “This superior- grade tool is lighter, stronger, and more powerful than anything you’ve ever used.”

#8 The Mini-Superhero

For  smaller pruning tasks, check out our favorite tool in the garden, the Bypass Pruner by Corona . Because no two hands are alike!

The flex dial allows you to set the pruners to match YOUR hand size and to adjust to the size branches you’re cutting, reducing hand fatigue.

Combined with the full steel core handles and ComfortGEL grips for superior comfort it’s no wonder these pruners were a 2017 finalist in the International Design Excellence Awards.

#7 Love Yourself As Much As Your Garden

Body abuse is common in the garden. Growers, you know what I’m talking about. There is that weed that just won’t let go and you won’t give up even though you left the proper tool in the shed. Or you’re determined to finish shoveling mulch or compost even though you’re tired. For us seasoned growers, perhaps you simply turn your head to look at a beautiful butterfly and crick your neck. 🤣

A gardeners work is physical and it’s important to take care of your body and avoid unnecessary strain. Even having the proper tools can put stress on your body if they are poorly designed. That’s what makes these tools so great.

Easi Grip Long Reach Garden Tools Set of 4

Originally made for people with arthritis, these stainless steel tools are really just good for anyone wanting to take care of their body. They feature non slip soft grip handles that keep hands and wrists in a neutral position, taking the stress off hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders and backs with the ergonomic design.

The tools also allow gardening from a seated position as well. This is especially helpful for anyone with knee issues or where bending is restricted. The long handles allow for reaching to the back of the beds.

A long trowel, fork, cultivator and hoe are included in this set of 4. Don’t need all four? They sell them separately, so you can just grab the ones you need!

Want the short handled version? Good news, they have those too! Easi Grip Short Handle Set of 4.

#6 Worms in the House

Yep, you heard me right! Vermicomposting can now be done right in your family room with style… and without mess. While we haven’t tested this product out yet, we couldn’t wait to share this brand new composting bin for all of you who boldly go where no gardener has gone before!

Marketed as suitable for a family of 1 to 3 people, the design of this indoor ecosystem is super sleek. According to company, the Biovessel aesthetics were accidental as it is designed from almost two years of biological research, experiments, and observation on the process of food waste decomposition to maximize efficiency.

The ease of use makes it perfect for busy people; simply add food waste and it does the work for you. No more running out to the garden every time you need to discard your scraps (which makes it good for cold winters!). Even for large families, this Biovessel makes a great mini composter for smaller scraps.

There is a bit of monitoring of moisture, light, and pH levels, as with all composting. When done correctly, there is NO ODOR. And with the exception of the 7 Liters of bedding soil and 500–600g of composting worms, the Biovessel comes with everything you need to start composting.

This is an awesome learning tool for teaching kids about composting and encouraging good environmental habits. With so much waste generated by modern ways of living, this design brings sustainability home for even the most densely populated cities, transforming waste into one of the most precious resources on the planet: worm castings.

#5 Bringing the Indoors Out

We love nature so much that we talk about bringing the outdoors in most of the time. But in this case, we’re bringing the indoors OUT to save you tons of time and energy in your garden with one simple tool: a hose trolley.

A Hose Trolley is a greenhouse growers best friend. And
for the outdoor gardener who uses a hose to water, it
makes watering plants a breeze! It keeps nozzles clean,
reducing the chance of spreading plant diseases, prevents hose wear and tear, and eliminates potential for tripping and accidental plant damage that happens when hauling the garden hose all around the greenhouse.

There are many hose trolley’s on the market, but we chose one most likely to stand up to outdoor elements, so you can rig this in your OUTDOOR garden too (for those without greenhouses). This Hose Trolley Kit includes an aircraft cable corrosion-resistant stainless steel pulley, hose supports, rope clip, hose turnbuckle, 10 additional feet of hose to get to the spigot, a trigger released lance, and their best hose – the Gilmour Flexogen. It also comes in 75’ and 100’ lengths for the extra large gardens.

To see this hose in action and hear more about how it can work in the garden, check out Stacey’s Youtube Video: Overhead Hose Trolley for Small Gardens & Greenhouses.

#4 Craftsmanship at its FINEST

Few tools are hand-crafted nowadays. No tools that we’ve found can compete with the more common mass-produced tools on the market… with one exception.

Handcrafted Garden Tools

Made with hand forged steel, wrought iron, hand turned American Black Walnut wood, each tool is built individually using traditional blacksmithing techniques. Each tool is set into its own hand-turned hardwood handle so there are no welds increasing the strength of the tool.

Of all our years and experience gardening, we’ve never come across such beautifully handcrafted tools. Each tool is unique and put quite simply, a masterpiece.

This set of five garden tools is perfect for both beginner and experienced gardeners. You’ll receive a large planting trowel, a narrow perennial trowel, square hand hoe, pointed hand hoe, and a three- tined rake. So if you’re shopping for a special someone with an eye for high-quality traditional crafts and an interest in gardening, this collection will light up not just their holiday season, but every growing season too!

Want to get just one?

We recommend starting with the trowel or garden hoe.

#3 Garden Smarter, Not Harder

Garden set ups are often extremely costly. And when you’re just starting, on a tight budget, or renting your home, you don’t want to spend a bunch of money and time on your garden set up only to walk away later. That’s why we were excited to find these:

100 Gallon Raised Bed Grow Bags

These grow bags are just over 4 feet (1.2 meters) in diameter and 12 inches (30cm) deep. They have reinforced handles for transport and are reusable lasting three years in normal gardening conditions. And the best part? They are only $29.99 each. That’s only $10 per year for a whole raised bed.

While these raised bed grow bags are great for anyone who wants to grow, they are perfect for gardeners just setting up and those on the go. They’re also great for gardeners with physical limitations, eliminating material hauling, heavy lifting, and best of all ZERO labor. Buy, open, fill with soil media, and start growing!

Built to last, even commercial growers use them since they have superior aeration and drainage to raised beds with solid sides. In fact, the only products that Bootstrap Farmer sells are ones they use on their farm. So if you’re looking for the perfect raised bed for your gardener, this 100 Gallon Grow Bag is where it’s at.

Want to get more than one? Get 3 for $69.99. Oh, and one more thing: they’re also sustainable, made of food safe recycled plastic and felt.

Need something bigger? Check out the 200 gal bags.
 Need something smaller? They’ve got grow bags in 4, 5, 7, 10, 25 gallon sizes too.

#2 The Micro-Dream Tray

As a commercial microgreen grower, having the right trays are invaluable! So many of the trays on the market are downright junk and you’ll be lucky if you get two to three plantings from them. But these are different…

Meet the most amazing microgreen tray on the market.

Combine them with these extra strength 5×5 trays (also known as 801 inserts) made of heavy duty, recycled, food grade, polypropylene plastic and guaranteed not to warp or break. I was skeptical, so I put them to the test. And I cannot imagine going back to what I was doing before.

These trays are great for anyone wanting to grow more varieties per batch (fits eight 5×5 trays to one 1020 flat), reduce their environmental waste, and save money. Not only that, but their design provides better drainage than the traditional inserts, saving even more with reduced crop losses. As an added bonus, I ran them through the dishwasher with no problem. These trays are the stuff of dreams for micro growers.

Say goodbye to flimsy non-sustainable trays for good with Bootstrap Farmers’ superior quality 5×5 Microgreen Trays.

#1 The Garden Tower® 2

Grow up to 50 plants and vegetables in 4 sq. feet (1.2 sq meters) with this Garden Tower! So much thought went into the materials and design of this indoor or outdoor growing container there was no way it could be anything but number one on our list!

The Materials

The Garden Tower® 2 is made of 100% food grade HDPE (non-toxic, BPA & PVC free plastic) components), FDA-approved dye and UV-protection for health, durability and recyclability.

The Unique Design

Supporting up to 1,000 lbs, the feet allow the tower to be anchored securely to any platform while still being able to rotate 360° for optimized sun exposure and growing in tight spaces

Planting pockets allow for easy planting and fast harvesting.

For mobile growing, you can get the Premium Caster Kit.

With a patented GT2 vermicomposting tube right down the center, you can compost directly into the tower where plant roots can access nutrients and oxygen from the perforated holes.

Compost release gate allows for seasonal removal of finished compost not used by the plants & provides for aeration from below.

Removable compost/nutrient tea drawer can collect up to two gallons of nutrient enriched water for another pass by plant roots.

The Garden Tower®2 is perfect for growing lettuces, herbs, kale, chard, smaller varieties of peppers and other plants with smaller root systems. To top it all off, it comes with a whopping 5-year manufacturer warranty. This container can last up to twelve years in the harshest of climates!

With all the thought that went into this special grow container, it’s no wonder it was recently named the “Worlds Most Advanced Container Garden.”

The only question we have for the company is, ‘Is there anything you didn’t think of!?’

Order this unique container at their website here.

BONUS! For Your Winter Pantry

This isn’t a garden gadget. Actually, it’s for you, right now. While you’re busy running around prepping for your holiday season, we wanted to remind everyone to take care of yourself and give your body that extra boost your immune system will need to stay healthy.

As the immune support and other benefits elderberry provides us becomes more realized, good quality elderberry syrup is getting harder and harder to find, especially at an affordable price. This is your place to do that.

Our good farmer friend, John Moody and his wife’s potent elderberry syrup is the best on the market. You can get a huge 16 ounce bottle of their original formula for $24! That’s normally what a decent quality 4 ounce bottle costs! Plus, they have low carb, low honey, and an infant friendly formulas. No need to take it like a cough syrup though, use it in your everyday life; from hot teas and lemonades to glazes and marinades, elderberry syrup is for every day immune support. My personal favorite is as a spread for turkey sandwiches and on waffles!



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