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AnonymousWoman's avatar

I want to get a gift for a friend who has a dream to grow his own food in the future. What should I get him?

Asked by AnonymousWoman (6339 points ) January 11th, 2012

This friend has been there for me through so much and has been so supportive and thoughtful. I was thinking about a modern book about growng food, but I am not sure which one to pick (if any). Do you have any ideas? It does not necessarily have to be a book. Thank you in advance!

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22 Answers

laureth's avatar

What resources does he already have? For example, does he have only a patio, or like five acres of land? Knowing what he can do, will help suggest gifts that will help him more efficiently use what he has, while avoiding what he can’t.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

He lives in the city and has a backyard. :)

(I am not the greatest with math, unfortunately…)

I thought of the idea of a book because he seems to like reading, but he doesn’t seem to want to grow his own food now. I could be wrong, but it seems more like it’s part of his future plans. A book can be a small reminder to him that it’s one of his dreams and he can flip through it whenever he feels like it. I view it more as a way to show my support for his dreams as a thank you for all the kindness and support he has shown and given me.

laureth's avatar

I did enjoy this book, which may be of use.

Square Foot Gardening is also really good.

This one inspired me a lot.

How soon does he want to live the dream? If his yard is small or the ground poor, these tomato boxes work pretty well. (I have one on my deck, the only place I can grow food.) You might find them cheaper someplace else. (Edit to add that I just saw your edit about how he doesn’t want to do it yet – maybe someday.)

Or a gift certificate to a garden place in his city.

I also want to do the same thing, so these are all books and things I’ve used :)

AnonymousWoman's avatar

Those books look awesome. Thank you so much!

(I don’t want to be pushy, so I don’t want to get him anything that makes him feel like he has to do it right away. I’m not sure when he wants to live the dream, so it seems safer to get a book. You have given me another idea, though. Maybe I should just talk to him about this more).

janbb's avatar

Look at Michale Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma – not about growing food but about a philosophy of food and locavorism. That might be good reading for him.

tranquilsea's avatar

Check out some of the gardening options in the Lee Valley Catalogue. I love everything I get from that company. It has all been very high quality and it works as advertised.

marinelife's avatar

What about a gift certificate to a seed company along with a copy of their catalogue? Burpee’s is a good one.

Coloma's avatar

If he has some space now, get him some gardening items that he can use in the “future”, which would be this spring! lol

You can get him peat pots, soil and seeds to start a melon patch, tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, squash. I have grown huge tomatoes and squash plants in the ground as well as in wine barrels and large pots. A book of veggie gardening and seeds would be a great gift.
I ordered some exotic seeds off of the internet for a friends Xmas gift. She just bought a new house a few months ago and wants more landscaping and color.

I ordered her Burning bush seeds, giant Moso bamboo seeds and pink Pampas grass seeds and offered to help her plant them after starting them in the house this spring.
It’s almost time to start seedlings now, around Feb./March where they have several months to grow before being transplanted outdoors.

I think you should offer to help your friend plant a little garden this year! :-)

mazingerz88's avatar

And seeds. Don’t forget fruit or vegetable seeds. : )

janbb's avatar

Edit: Michael Pollan

incendiary_dan's avatar

Get your friend heirloom seeds. These are seeds that will reproduce the same from year to year.

mazingerz88's avatar

@incendiary_dan Hmm, wonder where I could get heirloom dollar seeds. Lol.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@mazingerz88 There’s a reason I tell people to invest in seeds and not gold. Well, a dozen or so reasons, actually.

DaphneT's avatar

If your looking at vegetable seeds, Shepherd’s seeds used to be a good one. Here’s the link for it’s replacement Renee Shepherd’s. Select Seeds is another interesting source. I just got their catalog in the mail. That Renee’s garden offers cookbooks and lists a few of her favorite recipes (Herb Jellies), so a cookbook may be an option as a gift for someone who wants to grow their own foods.

Bellatrix's avatar

I like @incendiary_dan‘s heirloom seed idea and @Laureth’s books and @Coloma‘s tools idea. You could also look for some nice tools like trowels, little garden forks, things like that.

Depending on how much you want to spend, you could look at a subscription to a gardening site. We have a couple of sites here where you can buy seeds and plants and anything ‘gardening’. Or to the most popular gardening magazine in your country. I LOVE gardening magazines (even though I am crap at gardening).

Or see if there are any gardening shows coming up? Perhaps go with him to a gardening exhibition? We have them at one of our botanic gardens and I love to go along and pick up some plants. Or if you have an open garden scheme, check if there are any gardens that specifically have veggie patches and see if you can take him along. Usually costs very little to go into the gardens.

incendiary_dan's avatar

For books, I recommend Gaia’s Garden by Toby Hemenway, and any of the permaculture books by Bill Mollison. Might not be able to use many of the techniques immediately, but someone interested in growing their own food will love permaculture.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@AnonymousGirl An acre is 43560 square feet. I have no idea why. Probably goes back to rods and chains.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

You guys are awesome….

Now, thanks to all of you, I want to grow my own food (you make it sound so exciting!)...

I wish I could buy everything you all suggested.

I really like the idea of helping him plant a little garden.

Something I failed to mention before was that he wants a large greenhouse (that’s why I said it seems like it’s a future plan, because I’m pretty sure he doesn’t currently have one).

incendiary_dan's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe An acre is the amount of land a grown man is supposed to be able to plow in a day before aching.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@incendiary_dan GA. They obviously never met my grandfather.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

Alright, so…

How can I make sure he doesn’t already have a copy of a book without giving my gift idea away?

I don’t talk to any of his family members, so I don’t want to ask them. It would be awkward…

PS: I am checking the local library’s website here to look up every piece of literature suggested in this thread because I want to read them all myself. This may have started off as wanting to get help with finding the perfect gift for a friend, but you guys have given me a treat as well as a result…. with the recommendations. So, thank you. =)

incendiary_dan's avatar

@AnonymousGirl Ask? Or say “Hey, have you heard of this book?”

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