I’m not just a writer. I do other stuff. Okay, I’m caught, I mostly write; but, I do take a break from it. Those who follow this blog regularly know that I have a heavy interest in sustainable living. I’m slowly working on turning my small plot of land into a real-live urban farm. It’s a great way to stretch the legs, gets some Vitamin D, and recharge to write the next scene. It also lines my pantry shelves with yummy goodness.
So my wish list for the holiday doesn’t just include writerly-focused goodies, I’m hoping dear Saint Nick brings me a few things to get my butt out of the chair and out in the sunshine, too.
Dry & Toasty Feet: I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest for six years now. It’s time for me to own a pair of rain & muck boots, especially for the messy Spring and Fall prep and maintenance to the ol’ Thrasher Studios’ Farm. The Western Chief Buckle Rain Boot for women is one I’ve been eyeing. It held up to a Good Housekeeping test while being affordable and still has some pretty styles. I’m partial to this one. To make it even better, a new pair of Alpaca Wool liners for them would be awesome. Don’t know about those? Oh, I’d have them in all my shoes if I could. Seriously, I should.
Heirloom Seeds: The whole purpose of growing your own food is to really understand the whole process of where the food on your table comes from. That includes the seeds. I’ve only been doing this for a couple of years. Eventually I’ll start doing my own seed production. But right now I rely on organic heirloom starts from my local nursery or ordering my region-specific heirloom seed. This is my go-to place. Your region/state may have something else for your specific urban farmer.
Gift certificate to a nursery: Especially if the nursery features many organic methods and plants. My preferred nursery is The Nursery at Mount Si. A little google-fu and you can find which nursery would serve your own urban farmer’s needs.
Good tools: Every food grower needs good tools: a shovel, a hoe, a rake, a trowel. If you have an urban farmer who is just starting out, this starter kit really kicks butt. But nothing beats a good set of pruning shears. They are great for harvesting and a myriad of urban farming chores. Also, if your farmer is growing any root-harvestable foods like potatoes or horseradish and the like, a garden fork (also known as a spading fork) is really handy. Your local hardware store likely has it and at a reasonable price.
Sturdy gloves: I don’t have well-manicured hands. But getting worm guts, compost, and dirt out from under my fingernails is never fun. These Bambo Nitrile Gloves are the best. Tried and tested and I won’t have anything else on when I’m working in the rows and beds.
Worm Condo: Earth worms are like tiny little elves making your soil work for your plants. Worm poop is like surf-n-turf for your tomatoes, beans, peppers, etc. I also have enough good garden and kitchen scraps that I could be making my own compost. This Worm Factory Composter let’s the urban farmer do both – make great soil and let the worms just have a multiplying party.
Spiffy 5-gallon Bucket: Spring means lots of weeding time. A 5-gallon bucket lets your urban farmer move from bed to bed and through row after row and get the little buggers out. For the first couple of years I’ve had a basket that I used as a container to catch the weed and it also stored my little trowel and rake and shears. It wasn’t always the best set-up. This year, I’m upgrading to the 5-gallon bucket with a tool caddy on it. No worries about something tipping over because the basket is unstable. This is the way to go.
Off-Season Diversions: Some urban farmers, depending on their region, go into withdrawal when winter is upon them and even the winter greens, cabbage, and brussel sprouts are harvested, but it’s too early to plant. This is when a planning journal, or other urban farming book is a great gift. The annual Farmers Almanac is a great book to give. Also, every Urban Farmer’s book shelf should have The Essential Urban Farming. Another classic is Square Foot Gardening, however, you may want to opt for the New Square-Foot Gardening book. Personally, I’m wishing for Food and the City: Urban Agriculture and the New Food Revolution, or Breaking Through Concrete: Building an Urban Farm Revival.
Miscellaneous: A broad-rimmed hat to keep the sun off, canning jars and supplies (if they are farming and not selling, they are preserving), garden art (yes, even garden gnomes), a new hose (I seem to need a new one each year; when they are used daily they wear out faster), sprinklers or watering attachments for said hose, garden stakes, or even a pair of coveralls to work in.
Happy gifting and farming, all. May your next harvest be bountiful.