Use the gifts from the garden

The holiday season always seems to be a rushed time and we tend to miss out on a great deal of events as we become to consumed with buying “stuff” for others as gifts. Instead of running yourself ragged this year, plan ahead now and save yourself some hassle in the coming months.

As gardeners, we know there are all sorts of good products that we can find in our own backyard. This is the time to start planning those personal gifts that we can deliver once the holidays arrive. Now, I know what you are thinking, but I am not talking about giving away old pots or broken tools or anything like that. I am not even talking about anyone having to be real crafty, but I know if you tend to a yard or garden, you have many talents that you can pull ideas.

I will offer a few suggestions where you will want to take stock in items now for the season at the end of the year. Homemade food products are almost always a guarantee to please the recipient. Some of you are good at baking whereas others are good at meal preparations, and even others are good with all that other crafty stuff that put most of us in awe. We can gather many things for these gifts from the garden now.

Who doesn’t like homemade salsa??? I am a sucker for salsa any time of the year and it can all come from the garden in the form of tomatoes, onions, garlic, cucumbers, sweet and hot peppers and cilantro. Put a couple jars together in a basket or gift bag with a bag of tortilla chips and you have a definite win!

If you grow grapes or berries, jellies, jams and preserves are an amazing product. Place a couple small jars of these together with a fresh loaf of bread and once again you have a gift that will be greatly appreciated with your own personal touch.

If those items are not in your culinary repertoire, then maybe you would like to try making wine! A bottle or two in a gift bag with a couple of wine glasses can go a long way! Otherwise pair it with some cheeses and crackers to make a nice item.

Photos of the garden always have a place in the gift arena. There are so many pictures taken throughout the year of all the flowers and plants in the garden. I know I literally have hundreds on a couple of CDs just waiting to be sorted through. Use these items to make small note cards or larger “special occasion” cards. A picture of your garden flowers will always be unique only from you. Photos can be used to create gorgeous calendars and journals also. There are many computer programs and services that can be used such as Walmart photo, Shutterfly and vistaprint, to name a few. They all have wonderful ideas to tempt your creative edge.

If you like using dried product from the garden, think about creating a dried herb assortment to give away. The common ones such as basil, thyme, sage, rosemary and parsley are all true gems that will be used by most people. If you grow lavender in your garden, think about making some little dried clusters for a nice scent to permeate the air during the winter season. It is calming and relaxing for many people who enjoy a little aromatherapy.

Herbs can be added into many different oils and vinegars also for flavoring to add to foods, salads and even some desserts. Many of the mint plants can have their oil extracted to add into numerous products also. The garden holds many scents and flavors and they all remain at our disposal until the first killing frost of the season arrives.

Plan now to create something unique and creative from your neck of the woods. A personal touch always gets a good review when it comes to the home gardener, and now is the time to collect all that you need to make whatever product you have in mind. Enjoy the season for everything it holds, as this coming month will go by quickly also! Happy Autumn!

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