WE WILL NOT TAKE ORDERS FOR CHRISTMAS DELIVERY AFTER MONDAY, DECEMBER 17TH. IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO PLACE AN ORDER FOR DELIVERY IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS, PLEASE DO SO BY MONDAY, DECEMBER 17TH. ALL ORDERS PLACED AFTER DECEMBER 17TH WILL BE FILLED ASAP, BUT MAY NOT ARRIVE BEFORE CHRISTMAS.
Of all the gifts that you can give to a child, the gift of your time – time spent with a child – is unquestionably the greatest gift of all.
Last week and this week we are discussing gardening gifts that are great for children. As we have often stated, we believe there is no better activity to share with children than gardening. Today’s newsletter focuses on tools and cleaning.
Based on a centuries old design, the Harvesting History Pot makers are created by a local wood carving craftsman who makes these pot makers by turning ancient hardwood poles on his lathe. He carefully polishes each piece to remove any splinters and then lovingly oils each one. He designs them to last a lifetime and they do. Unlike many commercially available pot makers of similar, but not identical design, the cylinders are exactly the right diameter to produce sturdy, long lasting, biodegradable pots. These pots represent the best of the recycling world. They are made from scrap paper, designed to be buried with the seedling and never damage the roots of a young plant. Unlike peat pots and tiny plastic pots, these little paper pots are recycled into the soil by Mother Nature.
To use the pot maker, take a 3 inch by 8 inch sheet of paper (use 2 sheets if using newspaper) and wrap around the wooden cylinder allowing at least 1inch of paper at the bottom of the cylinder. Fold the paper at the bottom of the cylinder into the bottom of the cylinder, pressing firmly. Take the disk and press the disk into the bottom of the cylinder and twist until some frictional heat is created and the paper warms. Remove the paper pot from the cylinder, fill with soil and plant your seeds. Always plant at least 2 seeds per pot and remove the weakest seedlings after germination leaving 1 plant per pot.
I use a Styrofoam egg crate or a plastic container to hold my paper pots. It is easy to water these pots when they are resting in a waterproof container.
Making paper pots is an ideal rainy/snowy day activity for children. They can make hundreds of pots in an afternoon and watching the concentration on their little faces with brows furrowed and lips tightened is a memory to be treasured forever.
Metal Hand Rake
This is the ideal tool for raking around the bases of rose bushes, border shrubs and in perennial beds without harming the plants. The long metal tines only spread to a width of 4” which allows them to access nearly every area. The tines’ carriage is anchored firmly into a hardwood handle with screws. Built to last for a long, long, time.
Sooooo, you hate getting down on your stomach to reach under densely leaved bushes, well, recruit a kid. Kids love to lay on their bellies on the ground, so ‘under-bush raking” is the ideal sport for them. You can keep them busy for hours.
Man moved from independent forager and meandering hunter to civilized communities with the development of agriculture, and agriculture evolved into existence when mankind began to invent and manufacture tools to accomplish agricultural tasks.
Gardening tools basically perform 9 functions within and around the garden environment: digging, cultivating, propagating, planting, cutting, watering, composting, holding and hauling and raking and sweeping.
Digging tools have been traced as far back as 1100 BC when the Chinese created and used a bronze spade. The Romans are responsible for proliferating soil digging tools throughout Western culture. When the Roman Empire went into decline, the technology of the forge nearly disappeared and with it many tools. It took nearly 500 years before garden tools reemerged. Cultivating tools, those that allowed for the turning of the soil and weeding, were also developed during the Roman Empire and proliferated in Europe during the Middle Ages. Propagating knowledge is as old as civilization itself. Propagating tools, like cold frames and cloches (bell-shaped glasses meant to protect seedlings from frost) were recognized by the earliest Native Americans and the Medieval Europeans and may trace it roots as far back as Noah.
Planting tools like dibbers, trowels and bulb planters were used during the Roman times. Cutting tools are believed to have originated around 6000 BC and were first used to trim grapevines. Watering and composting began with the advent of agriculture and perhaps the best example of long term systematic watering was the annual flooding of the Nile Basin in Egypt. The very first water carrying tools were gourds used by prehistoric peoples. Holding and hauling for agricultural purposes began very early with baskets being used before 4000 BC and wheelbarrows being developed in China in 200 AD. Raking and sweeping tools have been part of gardening culture for at least 500 years in Western culture.
PinkLady Gardeners’ Soap
One thing most children love to do is play in the water, and one thing that all children must be taught is to wash their hands when they come in from the garden. For them to have their own bar of gardening soap is a great way to inspire children to wash up when their gardening day is done.
This is one of my favorite Harvesting History products and one of my favorite product stories. PinkLady Soap is made by Julia Holmes in her home, which until recently was near Stewartstown, PA, but is now in Delaware. This is the best gardeners’ soap I have ever used. The abrasive is cornmeal and tiny rosemary stem fragments, and this abrasive lasts until the bar of soap is gone. The nourishing oils in the soap caress your hands so that you can rub as hard as you like to get the soil out of all your cracked and crevassed appendages. It works and it works nicely.
The story behind the soap begins about 12 years ago when Julia’s best and dearest friend was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer and given months to live. All this woman wanted out of life was to see her children graduate from high school, but this was years away, and she only had months to live. She was accepted into a radically aggressive treatment program which caused her skin to become very, very sensitive and extremely delicate. Julia, who was standing by helplessly watching her friend suffer, decided to use her knowledge of chemistry and natural products to create a soap which soothed and freshened this delicate, sensitive skin. The soap she created worked much better than anyone ever dreamed would be possible. The doctors helping her friend referred other patients to her and gradually her soap became popular with many cancer patients undergoing treatment.
She then thought to create a soap for gardeners, because, being a gardener herself, she knew how difficult it was to clean up after a day in the garden without chafing your skin. So, her second product became PinkLady’sGardeners’ Soap. We have sold this product for 4 years and have been using the product, personally, for about five years. It is an excellent product.
As for Julia’s best friend, well, the radical treatment program halted the progress of her disease. She got to see all of her children graduate from high school and enter into adulthood. She lived for 9 years after her diagnosis. She passed in 2011. Some will tell you that for 9 years she cheated death, but I know differently. For nine years the love of her family and friends nourished her mind and body and kept her strong in the fight against this terrible disease. Simple, but incredibly important gestures, like creating a soothing gentle soap enriched her life, her body and gave her the stamina she needed to fight. Our PinkLady Soap is a bargain at $4.00 per bar and one of the best stocking stuffers you will ever find.
Remember, time spent with a child gardening, of all the child-worthy activities, is the very best use of your ‘child time’. Gardening brings children outside, gives them healthy physical activity, teaches them about the wonders of nature and why they need to learn to read and to count and how they, tiny beings that they are, are a part of this wondrous organism we call the earth.
Just A Reminder Of Some Great Gardening
Gifts for Children That We Have Discussed
In The Previous Newsletters
Praying Mantis Gift Certificate
This Christmas-Hannukah season we are introducing a product we have wanted to offer for years. It is a gift certificate that allows the recipient to receive sometime this spring, two praying mantis egg cases. Each egg case contains approximately 200 eggs which will hatch in about 30 days. Eventually, out of 400 eggs, 2-3 mantises will reach adulthood. This is an excellent gift for young children, ages 5-12, but it is an extraordinary gift for teenagers, especially teenage boys. If you are tired of giving your teenagers video games and clothes, try this gift certificate. As they follow the process of hatching these remarkable creatures, you will see in their eyes and the expressions on their faces, the wonder that was so very enchanting when they were younger.
I cannot emphasize enough what a wonderful present these praying mantis egg cases are. They are an opportunity to witness the creation of life and to participate in Mother Nature’s grand plan.
Haws Heritage Plastic Indoor Watering Can
MAKES A GREAT HOLIDAY GIFT – BUY NOW!
The Heritage, pictured immediately above, is the smallest can that Haws manufactures. The can is actually meant for adults but has become very popular as a child’s watering can. It is nearly indestructible. I have had one for 13 years and it still looks and performs like the day I acquired it. If you know a child whom you would like to introduce to gardening or an adult with a lot of indoor plants, the Haws Heritage would make an exceptional gift and it is only $13.50.
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