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Small Scale Vermicomposting You Can Do Anywhere

Compost

Rob Herring Headshot

 

Guest Garden Expert, Rob Herring

Highlights from Rob’s presentation: 2020 Superfood Garden Summit 

32 million tons of food are thrown out every year just in the US. 

97% of the food waste ends up in landfills.

Waste rots releasing greenhouse gases like methane into the air.

Composting this food waste would turn this waste into new soil that holds water, carbon and vital nutrients, reduce the waste in landfills and eliminate the use of chemical synthetic fertilizers.

Rob is new to vermicomposting and is here to share his top tips, from his learning curve, for making it through the first stages of vermicomposting when you’re just getting started.

Vermicomposting is the process of using worms to break down food.

→ Regular composting can take anywhere from three months to two years. In vermicomposting, you can see compost breakdown within 8-12 weeks.

→ Composting is really difficult when you live in a small space or urban environment. But urban environments contain the most people so that means lots of food waste. Creating ways for urban dwellers to be able to compost their food waste is vital for the health and regeneration of our planet. Vermicomposting makes composting accessible for those who live in urban environments or small spaces.

→ Food is #3 on the list of climate change contributors. This is without calculating the methane released by landfills (methane is 84 times more powerful in heating up the atmosphere than CO2), because there is no tool to help us measure the amount emitting from landfills. If we were able to include the emissions, food waste would by far be by far the #1 contributing factor to our environmental issues.

→ Current calculations estimate that about 40% of our food is wasted. That’s 40% of the total mass, but it’s also 40% of the total water used to grow that food, 40% of all the pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, synthetic fertilizers, human labor, carbon, distribution costs, etc… so it’s 40% of the food and all of the energy and resources that went into growing that food wasted, for no reason.

This is PROFOUND. It not only highlights the problem, but illuminates the opportunities we have that we can all participate in… It means that solutions are accessible to everyone.

For all your Worm Composting Needs,
check out:
The Urban Worm Company and Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm.

Benefit of Vermicomposting Recap

1. Reduces food waste in landfills and the resources it takes to ship the waste to the landfill by 40%.

2. Reduce chemicals sprayed and waste of resources that go into making and distributing food by 40%.

3. Planet Regeneration: Increase the water holding capacity, sequestered carbon, and minerals and nutrients in soil.

4. Preserves topsoil to reduce run off, leaching, and extreme temperature swings.

5. Faster breakdown of food waste to compost (versus using traditional composting).

Rob’s Tips:

Tip 1: Creating a Successful Environment

• Regardless of which bin or method you use, you’re going to want to create the conditions for moms to be happy. That starts with their bedding.

Coconut Coir: A substrate that can feel very similar to the soil if using the correct brand.

• Shredded newspaper, pumice stones, minerals, etc. There are many different types of materials you can use for worm bedding.

• The number one most important thing to remember is to keep the moisture level at the optimum level for your worms.

• So much about feeding/overfeeding, the carbon to nitrogen to carbon/ brown to greens, the dead to more alive materials has a lot to do with maintaining optimum moisture-rich levels.

• The bedding you provide for your worms is not a bedding in the traditional way we think of bedding for animals. Instead, it’s simply a slower breakdown type of food for the worms. It’s the carbon bedding you’re starting with.

Tip 2: Not Heated

• You want to keep your worm compost bin in normal human temperature ranges 55°F to no more than 90°F (12-32°C). This makes the indoor climate control that most humans live in perfect for worms as well. When it gets too hot, it will start losing moisture through evaporation and the worms will be uncomfortable.

Tip 3: Spreading out Your Organic Matter

• Cutting up and dispersing the organic matter over the worm bin is better than clumping it all together or giving them large chunks.

Tip 4: Outdoors Vermicomposting

• If you’re vermicomposting outdoors, make sure you are protecting it from the elements and that your bin is never in direct sunlight.

Tip 5: Size Your Worm Bin to Fit Directly in Your Kitchen

• By finding a place to tuck your worm bin into somewhere in your kitchen, you’re making it easy to access from where you generate food waste to begin with. Slide it under a ventilated cabinet, tuck it in a corner or under the table. If you build your bin right, people can walk right by and never know there are creepy crawlies right in your kitchen.

Tip 6: Activate Your Compost

• It helps to think about composting like a large digestive process. It’s the breakdown of materials in order for those materials to be used (in this case for plants). For any healthy digestion to occur, there needs to be healthy bacteria (like probiotics in our digestive tract). So you need to inoculate your compost bin to provide healthy bacteria for the worms.

• This may be in the form of a handful of compost or maybe you use a handful of healthy soil. Even putting a small amount of food scraps a few days before your worms arrive can help attract the beneficial bacteria to the bin to give your worms the right head start. Some people start this a few weeks before the worms arrive, I waited three days. There’s no exact science to the timing.

Tip 7: The Worms

• Red Wigglers are the worms you’ll want to use for vermicomposting. There is another worm called the European Night Crawler that isn’t technically a night crawler that some people use. I don’t know enough about them and there may be others but the red wiggler is what most people use in vermicomposting.

• When you get your worms, you just put them in the bin and let them get accustomed to their new environment.

worms
spraying worm bin

Tip 8: Water

• Have a spray bottle on hand so you’re not having to constantly run back and forth to the kitchen sink, figuring out how to get water in the container and disperse it. Have the spray bottle on hand next to the bin. 

• I use reverse osmosis water because it takes all the harsh chemicals out. Use the cleanest water you have.

• Just spritz the worm bin as your worm bin needs. It’s not an exact science. You’re going to need to observe and learn when the moisture level is optimal as you go.

• Some people use the squeeze test: Take a handful of soil, squeeze it in your hand, you should have one drop of water come out. Just be careful not to squeeze a worm!

• Keep in mind your food scraps are about 80-90% moisture. And you want to maintain a 70% moisture level in your worm bin. So you might want to add some browns as you go.

Tip 9: Light

• Have a light shining on the worm bin. Worms avoid light so the light helps keep them in their home where it’s moist and safe for them. The light isn’t for heat, it’s just for light.

• Don’t worry, you aren’t going to find worms all over the house or in your bed. Sometimes, they will find their way out of the bin if they are uncomfortable. They can’t get far because it’s too dry outside the bin. 

Tip 10: Food

• Chop up your food scraps into really small pieces. Just like we chew our food into smaller pieces to make digestion easier, our worm bin will produce better if we chop up the scraps. This increases the surface area available to the worms, providing easier access to food. This is especially helpful in the beginning while we are building the healthy microbes in the bin.

• Some people even blend their food scraps in the beginning.

• Start with a cup of food and see how it goes. Everyone has a different recommendation of how much food to feed the bins. But every bin is going to be a little different. The best way to determine the food amount is to check the bin every day to see if the food is starting to break down and if they might be ready for more or if they need a little more time.

Zucchini Scraps

• If the bin stinks, there is probably too much food and that’s when you’ll start to attract fruit flies and other insects. I’ve only seen one or two flies in the several months I’ve been keeping my bin because I started with less and slowly increased the food amount to the optimum level. 

• It really is slow and steady wins the race. Worms will optimize and adjust their population based on their food supply and living area. So they will reproduce as needed. Once the system gets going you can add more and more food to encourage reproduction. Then over time, you can add larger chunks of food and add more, etc. But start small and slow.

• Keep an airtight Tupperware container of extra food in the fridge or freezer as a backup in case your worms need food when you don’t have scraps available… maybe you cooked less that week, etc.

Tip 11: Bedding Tips

• Along with your spray bottle, you’ll want to have your carbon (bedding) nearby. I keep a bag of shredded newspaper next to my worm bin. You don’t want to be scrambling looking around for cardboard, paper, etc. trying to find bedding when you need it. This way, it’s ready to go.

• If you want to do indoor vermicomposting I highly recommend getting a paper shredder. All your junk mail and all the stuff that would otherwise be trash or go in the recycle bin can now be used for your bedding.

• Don’t just use paper all the time, have variety, but it is a good go to to have next to your bin.

• Moisten the carbon before you add it to the bin.

• Add carbon when you need it. Some people say to add carbon every time you add food. Some people don’t. Again, get to know your system.

• Familiarize yourself with what the bin looks like at any given point and how the worms are responding, then adjust as you need. If there is a ton of paper in the bin not breaking up? Is it too dry? Maybe it’s too hot or maybe you might have too much carbon.

Tip 12: On The Move

• Worms are going to move up over time. So maybe you use the stackable bins, like the Worm Factory, etc. They want to live in the top two inches of soil. As they move up, you’ll know that the bottom layers are ready for harvesting. This normally happens in about 12 weeks or so, but don’t rush. If you give it extra time, there will be less and less worms in the bottom layers because they want to move up where the food is.

• Composting worms are not going to be ideal for your garden, so by not rushing to harvest the bottom layers, you’re helping ensure they won’t be in the soil where you grow your food.

• Not rushing also makes harvesting a lot easier and less time consuming.

Worm castings have been shown to increase plant yields and resistance to pests and diseases by increasing your soil’s water retention, aeration, structure, and microbial activity. Studies are showing that soils with worm castings also attract more beneficials and pollinators, which makes sense seeing as how the healthier the plant, the higher quality of pollen and nectar it will produce.

Some people are weirded out by worms. If you are, you gotta get over it. It can be a little weird at first, but once you collaborate with them, you realize how truly magnificent they are. Worms literally create earth and play such a vital role in our ecosystem! Once you realize this, you’ll become a total vermi-nerd!

Join Rob and 15 other gardening experts for the 2021 Superfood Garden Summit

https://superfoodgardensummit.com/

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Fresh Spirulina & Oasia Farms: An inspiring and fun superfood!

Garden Recipes

Meet Dale Solomon of Oasia Farms. He has an interesting journey to becoming a farmer and grows a superfood that not many have heard of and one you will love learning about.

Dale’s Spirulina Journey: 

“Throughout my years in college I was deeply invested in environmental work, specifically combating climate change. I immersed myself in a green ecosystem (no pun intended) through a number of university clubs and was eventually introduced to the algae industry. I remember feverishly crunching numbers after class to figure out how many acres of algae ponds it would take to offset our global carbon emissions.

Dale Solomon Image

After graduating from USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering in 2016, I took a job in aerospace. It didn’t take long for me to realize that my career had taken a wrong turn. Making fighter jets for a living didn’t represent the positivity that I wanted to bring to the world, so I made a change. In June 2017, I quit my job and decided to turn all those theoretical calculations I had cooked up in college into a real-life business.

It took almost a year of research and planning, but here we are growing a uniquely nutritious & therapeutic superfood- spirulina. We are so proud of the work that we are doing to improve and nourish the community! Spirulina is the most nutrient dense superfood on Earth and it’s at its best when consumed raw or fresh frozen. Our fresh product is moving the industry away from powdered and processed spirulina to a more bioavailable and palatable alternative. When unprocessed, the nutrients in spirulina are easily digestible, allowing your body to absorb the maximum amount of omega-3, protein, iron, antioxidants, and dozens of vitamins & minerals. Additionally, fresh spirulina has a light creamy texture and a flavor similar to smashed avocado or unsalted cream cheese. Personally, I find this far more appealing than the pungent, ocean smell of powdered spirulina. I think you will too!”

Incorporating Spirulina Into Your Diet: 

Spirulina Shake

Because of its creamy texture and light flavor, spirulina easily blends into countless recipes. Most people use it in a morning smoothie, but if you want to get creative, Dale has tons of ideas on his Instagram page (@oasiafarms) including salad dressings, sauces, yogurt bowls, soups and snacks. You can even use it as an antioxidant loaded face mask! 

Here are some fun recipes from Dale that can be downloaded.

→ Spirulina Guacamole

→ Green Goddess

→ Emerald Treat

→ Spirucado Toast


Join Dale and 15 other gardening experts on the Superfood Garden Summit

https://superfoodgardensummit.com/

Dale Solomon SGS 2021
SpirucadoT oast
Green Goddess
Emerald Treat
Spirulina Guacamole

Superfood Garden Summit – Get healthy and NOURISH yourself with SUPERCHARGED foods grown right at home

Climate & growing conditions

With all the craziness and uncertainty around us, we need activities that ground us and nourish us more than ever.

Gardening lets you regain control of your life, your health, and your happiness. Because even if you could find “fresh” produce at your local grocery store last year… Do you know how fresh and healthy that produce actually was?

All fruits and vegetables start losing precious nutrients as soon as they’re picked! And for some crops, you can be eating them weeks or even months after they were picked.

For example, did you know that most grocery store carrots are 1 to 9 months old depending on when you buy them?

Cold storage does help fresh vegetables last longer. But chemical coatings, gases, waxes, and soy-based proteins are also used to keep produce from spoiling on the long trip from the farm to your table.

And they aren’t very good for your immune system!

The true solution to better health and better food is right in your backyard… gardening! Because gardens HEAL.

When you plant a garden, you aren’t just growing your own food. You’re planting seeds of hope.

Hope for a healthier body with less pain and more energy.
Hope that you can feed your family without worrying about empty shelves at your grocery store.

Hope that you’re healing the planet for your kids and grandkids.

We call them seeds of hope because gardening gives you real, solid proof that you’re taking a step forward to reclaim your health and independence.

Because you can SEE the progress you’re making when your plants grow big and strong. Seeds planted today can be food in just weeks!

Watch this short video to learn how you can bring healing superfoods into your life!

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Click HERE for more details and to get registered!

Now’s your chance to spread the love of REALLY fresh, homegrown food. Imagine if YOU were the catalyst for your friends and loved ones to start gardening and enjoying an even GREENer lifestyle… How much could that transform their lives?

We’re on a mission to reach 100,000 growers with this summit! Because EVERYONE deserves fresh, organic food for a long, healthy life. Growing your own food is one of the best ways to do just that. 💚  

It would mean so much if you could help us connect with more people who need this vital information. 

Share this link: SuperfoodGardenSummit.com

There are so many problems with our food system. And this is an opportunity to be part of a solution… imagine the impact that this community of 100,000+ growers would have towards an even healthier planet. ;)​​​​​

Growing Celery for Maximum Nutrition and Flavor

Garden Hacks - Simplify routines

Celery Used as Disease Prevention for Thousands of Years

Did you know celery (Apium Graveolens) was used almost exclusively for medicinal purposes from 850 BC through the 17th century? A 2017 phytopharmacological review on celery confirms “…the Apium has emerged as a good source of medicine in treating various diseases.” From weight gain and skin conditions to rheumatic tendencies and chronic pulmonary catarrh, celery is proving itself to be a powerful plant for many ailments and chronic diseases.

Three reasons to grow your own celery

Protect yourself from toxic chemicals. Celery is ranked as one of the Dirty Dozen by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), making it one of the most contaminated produce items on the grocery shelves. When you grow your own, you know exactly how the plants were grown and create a toxic free future for yourself and your loved ones.

Choose foods that are nutrient rich. When you have no idea where your food is actually grown, that’s a big question mark where your health is concerned. Your health starts in the soil, and growing your own food allows you to focus on quality soil. Plus, food starts to decompose the moment it is harvested. There’s no telling how much of those vital nutrients were lost before your food reaches your plate. 

The flavor of homegrown celery will surprise and delight you! It’s easy to overlook celery for flashier vegetables. But that is a big mistake, especially in the garden. Because homegrown celery is so much more fragrant than store bought. You quickly rediscover why it’s been in recipes for thousands of years, not just for its health benefits but for its unique homegrown flavor.

Important Tip No One Talks About When Growing Celery

Growing celery from seed is not recommended for beginners. It is one of the more finicky seeds and takes longer than most to germinate. When you find good quality, celery plants at a trusted nursery or farmers market, you will have more success and faster harvests.

If you can’t find celery plants, growing from seed is still an option. Discover best practices in the Grow Your Own Celery – Cheat Sheet.

How To Grow Nutrient Dense Celery

When inviting plants into your life, it’s important to remember that plants want to thrive. They do whatever it takes to grow strong and turn to seed for the next generation of plants. Your role as a steward is to provide the best conditions for your plants to flourish. Here are the eight considerations when growing celery.

1. Growing Celery is Great for People With Busy Lives

Celery is among one of the easiest plants to care for in the vegetable and herb garden. Once your garden is started, it takes just minutes each day to harvest and care for celery. Luckily, most pests avoid this fragrant herb making it easy to care for too.

2. There IS a Celery Variety for Your Climate 

Plant your celery outside once night temperatures are above 55°F (12°C). Celery grows best in temperatures between 55-80°F (12-26°C). Living in a hot, dry desert climate? You’ll have better success planting in dappled shade or under shade cloth.

A favorite among many gardeners is Tango variety. It performs well under less than ideal growing conditions such as heat and moisture stress. And the flavor is fragrant with stalks that are more tender and less fibrous.

Which other varieties to consider? Tall Utah is an upright plant, rather than one that spreads out. For color, Giant Red or Chinese Pink varieties are a fun way to add some unusual color to your meals.

3. Your Celery Plants Want 6-8 Hours of Sunlight  

Without proper sunlight, your vegetable plants cannot photosynthesize and grow. Your outdoor celery needs 6 hours of sunlight minimum. NOTE: Sunlight and grow lamps are not the same thing. When growing indoors, your celery plants need 16 hours under grow lamps. 

4. Quality Soil Means Nutrient-Rich Food 

Health starts in the soil. If growing in a container, choose a high quality, organic potting mix. If growing in soil, ensure good drainage, structure and fertility. Add a 2” layer minimum of organic compost on the top of your potting mix or soil each growing season.

5. How Many Celery Plants in How Much Space?

Celery is perfect for small gardens. While planting celery 6” (15cm) apart is recommended, squeezing that spacing to 4” has some benefits. It may lower your harvest per plant, but you’ll get more harvest overall since you have additional plants. This is a great option for people with small growing spaces.

For container gardens, choose a container that is 12” (30cm) wide and at least 12” (30cm) deep for four celery plants or cutting celery clusters. This will give you and your family of four several celery stalks for 2 out of 3 meals daily.

6. Water, Water and More Water!

Celery is 95% water by weight, and needs more water than most vegetables. It’s a marshland plant, so it prefers consistent moisture. That means watering each day (temperatures above 70) or every other day (temperatures below 70). Watering celery once a week typically doesn’t work unless you get significant condensation every night in your garden. How do you know if you need more water? If your celery plants wilt, water more. 

Living in a hot, dry desert? Add 6” mulch to the soil which can drop the soil temperature by 10 degrees Fahrenheit! The soil holds more moisture which keeps roots cooler.

7. How to Harvest Celery for Maximum Yield

You might read that it takes celery 60-80 days before it’s ready for harvest. If you were growing a head of celery like you find at the grocery store, that might be true. But the good news is that you can harvest much sooner with this PRO tip!

PRO Tip for more abundant celery harvests: Cut what you need, when you need it. When the plant has at least 10 stalks, no matter how small they are, start harvesting and enjoying your celery. Simply harvest the outermost stalks and keep at least 7 stalks on the cluster at all times. Your plants may last the entire growing season with this continuous harvest method. That’s WAY better than waiting for one single head of celery!

To harvest, use a sharp knife or pair of scissors to remove each outermost stalk as close to the soil as possible. Keep the cuts as clean as possible as old plant material and ragged cuts are places for pests and diseases to fester.

8. Can You Store Celery For Later? 

Like most herbs, it’s best to cut and use celery fresh. After all, that is the benefit of your garden, putting the absolute freshest food on your plate at each meal!  But if you are harvesting a lot of celery at once, water is the trick to keeping celery fresh. One option is to place stalks in a glass of water on the counter. Display the vibrant green harvest while keeping it hydrated until you’re ready to use.  

Celery is a staple in cuisines around the world! If you are considering preserving celery for all your winter soups, use a dehydrator to remove most of the moisture for long term storage. Pro tip: grind your dehydrated celery into a powder and store in an airtight container in a dark cool space to enjoy your harvests year round.

Get the complimentary Grow Your Own Celery – Cheat Sheet with everything you need to grow celery in this two-page printable format. 

Build Your Own Garden Essentials Holiday Gift Basket

Building Projects

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! 

Meet Gina the “Make it Happen” Gardener

Building Projects

When you see someone who believes in the nourishment of a garden SO much that she buys a blackberry bush BEFORE she even has a yard, you just have to find out what happens next!

Meet Gina from California.  

Gina is busy! A doctor and a mother of two, she decided she was tired of her dreams of having a garden pass by year after year. She admits she thought it was going to be easy. She decided to just “wing it” and threw some seeds in the ground to see what would happen. But she ran into some challenges along the way, and was frustrated because the learning curve was steep!

Luckily, Gina started asking some really great questions in our Grow Your Own Vegetables community this year. And she found the right tools to make her feel confident in the garden. And her garden is really thriving… because she always finds a way to make it happen.