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What are Propagators?
Propagators are compact incubators for raising seedlings in an optimum environment. They typically consist of an under tray filled with a growing medium and a transparent cover. In essence this creates a miniature greenhouse which lets light in but retains moisture and heat.
Propagators consequently provide a perfect, sheltered germination and growing environment for young seedlings. Typically propagators are about a square foot in size and made of plastic.
They will often have ventilation slots to allow fresh air in and condensation out on hot days. Propagators are particularly in need when it is early spring and night time temperatures are too low for germination.
This allows the gardener to raise strong young plants ready to plant for when the weather warms up. They also protect young plants at their earliest and most vulnerable stage of development from pests.
Propagators come in a wide variety of shapes and styles with some having inbuilt thermostats and heating.
Germination is the natural process whereby seeds begin to sprout into new young plants. If a seed is given the correct amount of moisture, oxygen, darkness and temperature enzymes within the seed start to activate. This unleashes stored energy inside the seed causing it to sprout.
One of the obstacles when germinating seeds is keeping the environment stable. At any point during this vital transition a seed can die if it loses any of the vital environmental factors. Things such as sudden frosts, dry spells or pests can stop a seed from completing germination.
Hence there are great advantages to germinating plants in a propagator. The combination of stable growing environment and shelter from outside threats make them perfect for the job.
The purpose of a propagator is to germinate and then grow plants on until they are large enough to handle. Young plants can then be potted up until so they can grow on to reach their desired size.
Best soil for propagation
The best soil for propagators is one that is light and fluffy buy will firm down without compacting. You want your propagators soil to retain moisture but not be sodden. You don’t want the soil to be to nutrient rich and you want enough air spaces so roots can easily develop.
The best soil for this can be found by searching for a seed sowing or potting mix. You can buy these readymade or make your own. To make your own mix two parts sieved compost with one part topsoil loam.
You can use fine compost if you wish the bottom line here is the structure should be fine but not heavy. If you do use your own soil mix it may be a good idea to sterilise it first.
This will get rid of any fungal spores or bad bacteria. This can be done by placing it in a bucket and pouring kettles of boiling water over it. Then it must be cooled and drained.
When sowing inside a propagator it’s important to consider what species you’re growing and if it’s suitable. Many propagators have quite shallow pot systems which are not suitable for every seedling.
Seedlings of larger plants such as beans and shrubs may find propagators too shallow and end up stunting the young plants. It is recommended that if a seed is much wider than 2 millimetres it may be too large for a small propagator.
Furthermore if you sow any seed too densely within a propagator this can stunt a young plants growth early on. However for most annuals, perennials and herbs propagators are perfect for germinating at most times of the year.
One thing that has to be perfected when growing in propagators is the correct timings of sowings. It is very typical to sow some warm loving plants too early.
This can mean potting on and then having a long wait until they can be planted outside. This is especially true of things like chillies and tomatoes. This is less of a problem if you have limitless space inside your home or greenhouse.
The latter however is rarely true so having a good knowledge of the likely last frosts in your area is beneficial. If you have a greenhouse try to have an idea of what time the night time lows are inside.
This will enable you to sow in your propagator at the right time for the correct species.
The main aim of the propagator is to keep young seedlings moist. Too much moisture however can be catastrophic to the cause. Seeds can soon succumb to fungal infections or simply rot in the ground with too much water.
Some propagators come with drainage holes and a water tray underneath. This is the best scenario as it makes watering easy to manage.
Some basic propagators do not have drainage holes. In this case you want to water very lightly to ensure no water logging. In both scenarios you should fill the tray with compost and firm it slightly. Now sow seeds then flutter just enough potting mix over to cover the seeds.
With a watering can nozzle water the tray for a second and let the soil settle. This should be moist enough to get the seeds started. The soil should be just damp to the touch but not wet. After a few days check the soil, if you need to add more moisture mist with a spray bottle.
The perfect temperature for seeds to grow in a propagator is between 15 -22 Celsius. However it is important to realise that in nature day time temperatures fluctuate quite a bit.
The temperature can be wildly different at 3am as in the same location at 3pm. I would not obsess about the exact temperature as long as it doesn’t go below 8 Celsius at night and gets at least early spring light for as much of the day.
Try to make sure the propagator is not in a location that is susceptible from extreme draughts. If growing very early in the season your seedlings may not get enough natural light. This is particularly true the further from the equator you are.
If you live in the extreme north and south you may find your seedling growing leggy and bending towards the light. In such cases you may want to consider a propagator with the addition of UV grow lights.
When to open the vents on a propagator?
All propagators have small open-able vents at the top or sides for ventilation. There are three general positions for the vents to be in; closed, half open and fully open.
The general rule of thumb here is when the seedlings have been sowed close the vents. This is to keep a moist and humid environment inside the propagator. This is important as some seeds simply need a day or two just to absorb water before sprouting.
When the seedlings start to emerge from the compost it is good to at least open the vents halfway. This increases ventilation and reduces the risk of seedlings rotting.
When most of the plants start producing leaves it is best to open the vents completely. If you start to have warm days with warm sunshine the entire top can come off to allow in air flow.
When to remove a seeding from a propagator
The whole idea of growing in a propagator is to get germination complete quickly and efficiently. Due to a relatively limited amount of soil medium it is best to get seedlings potted on as soon as possible. If not you can find yourself with pot bound and stunted young plants.
This is however a complete balancing act plant on too early and you risk breaking the seedlings. We usually find if a seedling has a full second set of leaves and is easy enough to handle it is ready. It is worth noting here that seeds sowed very close together can result in weaker plants.
If you try to sow as thinly as possible each plant should become robust faster. There is an element of experience and intuition when knowing when to remove a seedling from a propagator.
Sterilising a propagator
It is a good idea to sterilise your propagator after every time you use it. This can be done by washing thoroughly with hot soapy water and a scrubbing brush. When you have finished rinse with clean, cold water.
Commonly you will be using a standard propagator with no heating of any sort. The warmth produced by the sun’s rays is usually more than enough for successful germination. We have listed some standard propagators available on Amazon below.
Heat mats also known as propagation mats are designed to sit underneath propagators and pots. As the temperature of the air is generally warmer than the soil a method to heat it is beneficial. Heat mats are the perfect way to get your seedlings to sprout with ease. Even in the winter months if necessary.
A heated propagator is fundamentally a propagator with a built in heat mat at the base. This when plugged into an electrical source will gently warm the soil to an optimum germination temperature.
A good electric propagator will come with a sensor system to monitor soil temperature. Acting as a thermostat this will automatically turn the propagator on and off to maintain a constant temperature of around 15 Celsius. We have put together a selection of these for you below.
Propagators with lights
Propagators with lights come in two separate categories; Ones with built in lights or buying separate UV grow lights and creating your own system. The ones with lights already build in are extremely usefully especially in colder climates. Here you can provide your seedling with that extra boost earlier on in the season.
You may wish to create your own propagator with lights system by buying both separately. The benefit with this method is potentially creating an extensive germination area. This could be far more industrious than a typical window ledge set up. These large set ups can also benefit from reflected screens built from timber and metal foil.
One of the best ways to get started with propagators is by purchasing a complete propagator set. These usually come with a full step by step guide to set up and growing. They also can contain heating and thermostat systems as well as the propagator itself. We have put an example of some of these below.
Propagator tents are exactly what their name suggests and consist of a tent with a foil inside for reflecting light. Some come with inner frames to stack seed trays and ventilation outlets. Some come as a readymade set up with lights and some are sold singly. We have linked to some here if you wish to extend your propagation areas.
Misters and spray bottles can be very handy accessories for propagators, we have listed some here.
How to make your own DIY propagator
For those of you on a budget there are a few different ways of making your own propagators. These can be small like typical propagators or eve up to cold frame size. You also have the option to create reflective sides to boost the levels of light and heat. We have embedded an informative video on how to do just that below.
So there you have it! Pretty much all you need to know about how to use propagators. We hope you found this article helpful, if it did it would mean so much to us if you pinned it or shared it. This helps us to know we are writing helpful articles and helps us to write more. Thanks and happy propagating! Want to read another helpful article on growing in a propagator? We link to one here. Need more garden ideas? Check out our article on garden decor ideas here.
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Garden scissors are extremely usefully around the garden. Their primary functions are for cutting, clipping shearing and pruning green material. Garden scissors can also be used in the garden for more practical operations such as cutting twine and netting. The reality is the term ‘garden scissors’ means different things to different people.
Some simply believe garden scissors are just heavy duty kitchen scissors suitable for garden work. Many who are new to gardening simply look at one of five tools and ‘garden scissors’ is the only way to describe them. The five tools are Sentei scissors, Garden snips, Garden shears, Loppers and lawn edging shears.
I regularly see this confusion so have listed all the tools people have described as garden scissors in the past.
Heavy duty kitchen shears for gardening
Most of the time when people are searching for gardening scissors they really desire a strong pair of kitchen scissors. Just like most of the time a home gadget ends up being perfect for gardening duties.
Furthermore I have found heavy duty kitchen scissors very useful for gardening throughout the years. They are very good for cutting soft vegetation and cutting cloth and netting for the vegetable patch. I have left some examples of heavy duty scissors suitable for the garden here.
Sentei garden scissors
These Japanese style scissors have been used for centuries in oriental gardens in the east. One of their famous uses was to trim and clip bonsai trees. The unique feature with these scissors is they allow you to insert more fingers into the grips.
This allows you to focus much more power onto a smaller cutting area. This also gives the operator more control over the cutting. Hence Sentei garden scissors are perfect for delicate and intricate trimming.
Garden snips are more like a miniature version of secateurs than scissors. However these snips are capable of doing the jobs both of the latter do. The robust handles and spring mechanisms ensure durability and power.
Furthermore the thin and narrow blades allow the gardener to engage in more precise cutting. Garden snips are perfect for dead heading and intricate activities such as pruning climbers and topiary. We have left some links to varying types on Amazon below.
It may be surprising to some that garden shears can be thought of as garden scissors. But to the untrained eye or people that know little about gardening I can see why they think scissors. Garden shears with their blades, handles and overall look looking similar to scissors do completely different tasks.
Garden shears are generally for trimming hedges and shrubs. These are much larger and robust tackling a greater thickness of green material. Check out some of the examples of these below.
Garden pruning Loppers
Loppers are large pruning devices suitable for larger branches on shrubs or even small trees. They have the form of scissors but much larger with long cylindrical poles for extra leverage.
Loppers are perfect for trimming fruit trees and large soft wood. It is often quite surprising how much power they can generate and what thickness of wood they can cut through. Below are some good examples of loppers.
Garden edging shears
Another gardening tool that can be thought to look like scissors is edging shears. With a scissor like motion these are perfect for cutting grass blades which stick out from the lawn.
These very distinct garden gadgets are also perfect for trimming around awkward obstacles and garden features. In recent times many have stated that garden strimmers can be used to edge lawns instead. However from personal experience these do not give as a refined edge as edging shears.
Ironically scissors can also do the same job well but a little hard on the knees. We have included some edging shears available on Amazon below.
Animal garden ornaments
As people have generally separated themselves from wild places we have grown a love for animals and nature. This can be seen in our love of gardening, wildlife documentaries and keeping animals as pets.
Sadly we most love some of the animals we as a species are directly threatening with extinction. Humans have always loved statues and sculptures of wild beasts since the beginning of time. The truth is we love the visual presence of these creatures close to us.
Some of our most loved animal species make great ornaments and these can be amazing garden decor ideas. From traditional stone like statues to new more lifelike resin based examples. Animal garden ornaments are very effective garden decor.
Unfortunately today Orangutans are increasingly rare. This impressive ape is native to South East Asia and recognisable by its reddish brown fur. People easily relate to apes as they are a familiar and similar species to our own.
This resin garden orangutan ornament is a very striking piece of garden decor that will provide a talking point for your family and friends every time.
Gorillas, another great ape from Africa is just as impressive in statue and form. This species is recognisable by its displays of chest beating and mock charges.
From the central tropical rainforests of Africa gorillas are the ultimate example of raw power in nature. Also a close relative of humans and absolutely beautiful to look at this resin garden ornament will be the focal point for many years to come.
When admiring the sheer beauty of the natural world few species come as close to the Peacock for supremacy. The males of these amazing birds from Asia have the most elaborate and dazzling mating display.
The huge fan like tail opens up to create a huge fan of colour with rather disturbing amounts of eye like markings. Many admire the beauty of this iconic bird which can make a truly beautiful garden ornament.
Like Peacocks, Stalks are very handsome birds with long legs and snake like necks. Due to their tall and needle like stature they have a natural elegance which is hard to replicate.
These beautiful birds look amazing reflecting in a garden pond as they do in nature. Stork statues are amazing garden decor ideas with ornaments made out of metal being the most popular of all.
Not everybody welcomes cats into their garden but no one can deny their sheer majestic excellence as a hunter. Cats are one of our favourite pets and for good reason!
These handsome little beasts have historically kept vermin species at bay and fun to watch. Cats have an air of grace about them and their general audacity and laziness is really quite comical. It is no wonder cat ornaments are very popular in numerous garden decor examples.
Rabbits are less of a popular pet than cats but are still extremely loved by people of all ages. These lovely herbivorous creatures typically have large bodies with long ears.
They are naturally skittish and universally thought of as cute. Some of the large pet breeds are incredibly docile, fluffy, cute and lovable. It is no surprise rabbits are also very popular garden ornaments.
Often immortalised in Disney movies a children’s cartoons the frog has almost a cartoon like presence to it. Being an amphibian it is highly specialised but an extremely successful species.
Frog species stretch right across the globe and have done for millions of years with barely any change to their design. They are quite simply one of nature’s masterpieces. It is no wonder why we crave its aesthetics as an effective garden decor idea.
Also an animal common in novels and popular culture the owl is a beautiful bird of prey almost ghost like in flight. Owls are thought of as extremely wise because of their sophisticated method of hunting.
These wonders of nature are another successful species across the planet and with good looks to match. Owls can also be a deterrent to pest species of birds such as pigeons which peck at crops and a general pest.
Owls can make great garden ornaments whether life like replicas or metal sculptures.
Lions are well known as the king of the beasts and for good reason. Their god like stare and awesome stature make them one of nature’s most feared predators.
Today confined to Africa and one small part of India this species used to inhabit most of the ancient world. Today due to habitat loss and hunting lions are critically endangered.
Lions have been immortalised in human paintings and sculpture since the dawn of civilisation. It is no surprise that there are plenty of garden decor ideas which reference this iconic big cat.
Deer are found all over the world and one of the most successful herbivorous mammals on the planet. They come in all shapes and sizes from knee height to taller than a man.
These graceful creatures are well known for their elegance and beauty commonly depicted many art works. Deer have also been popular in social culture such as Walt Disney’s Bambi. Deer can make the perfect garden sculpture or ornaments which are especially effective amongst garden foliage.
Tortoises are universally recognised for their long history on the planet without change for millions of years. This rather remarkable looking creature which carries a protective casing around with it is an extremely popular with people.
For this reason in the early 1900’s tens of thousands were captured for the pet trade. This led to a huge drop in their numbers in the wild. As a result Tortoises were once commonly seen walking around peoples gardens during the summer months.
Tortoise replica statues make beautiful garden decorations and will be appreciated all year round.
Wind spinners come in all shapes and sizes and are a fully mobile and exciting garden decor idea. Historically these spinners have been used to scare away pests from crops in the garden.
Most of the time however it is the alluring, circular and spinning motion which is attractive to the eye. Today there are many types of wind spinners which can make great garden decorations.
Popular spinners include solar lights reflected through varying colour shades to spread a mobile display of colours at night. We have put together some of our favourite on Amazon here.
Japanese garden décor
Japanese garden design is world renowned for its majestic beauty and effective use of natural elements. Japanese gardens are commonly planned within the energy guided principles of Feng Shui.
Japanese garden elements usually work on the idea of representing the natural world as a microcosm. For example upturned stones are portrayed as mountains and ponds as trees.
This is really not surprising as Japan itself has such a strikingly beautiful landscape. Many western garden enthusiasts love Japanese garden decor ideas for the capture the rugged beauty of nature.
Stone lanterns, garden bells, bridges and fountains are all decor elements in Japanese themed gardens. We have put some typical examples of these below.
Religious garden décor
Funny gardening sign
Gardening presents allow you to embrace the humorous side of your friends green fingered talents which can make them fun and exciting! This funny gardening sign makes the perfect gift for any special moment. It is great for a garden shed, patio, vegetable area or even inside a summer house.
Paper pot maker
This cool garden gadget allows you to create multiple garden pots without spending a penny! Even better these pots can be planted directly into the soil and decompose as the plants grow. This is a great gardening present for any green fingered friend who wants to do their bit for the environment.
Gardener’s mobile potting table
Gardeners take great care and enjoyment from nurturing their green family which is a process to be savoured. The most important thing for such careful work is that a gardener has adequate work space with everything to hand.
A truly fantastic gardening present idea is this splendid mobile potting table. It has everything a gardener needs for potting up including a compost tray and multiple shelves for stacking pots. This table also has wheels so it can be moved to any location they wish.
These pioneering wild plants have deep roots and seed freely meaning they are almost imposable to eliminate completely! One of the most frustrating parts of weeding for a gardener is knowing that within a few weeks the weeds will be back.
A gardening present which can help to stop this endless cycle would be highly favoured indeed! This thermal garden weeder blasts weeds with extremely high temperatures. Just plug it in and hover the nozzle over the weeds for a few seconds. This kills the weed to its root stopping it from remerging with a minimum of effort.
Most gardeners care for the environment and do not wish to use chemicals to repel pests. On the other hand many gardeners are not cruel enough to trap or shoot birds and mammals which enter the garden.
Perhaps the only real way to attempt to scare off these unwanted garden visitors is with this quirky scare crow. Regardless of how effective they actually are you can be assured they will be a wonderful garden focal point. Hence he will make a wonderful gardening present this season and beyond.
Lawn aerator shoes
Many gardeners spend a lot of time trimming, edging, fertilising and applying weeding treatments to their lawn. Unfortunately however many neglect the importance of aerating their lawn which is essential to reach the perfect lawn. Aeration involves making hundreds of tiny holes in the surface.
These are usually filled with sharp sand or grit by brushing it across the surface. Not only does this add oxygen it also relieves compaction and improves drainage. One of the easiest ways to aerate your lawn is with these lawn aerator shoes. Not only will they make the perfect gardening present they can also be a great work out for the legs.
Nibble my bits bird feeder
Not everyone loves garden gnomes but those who do rarely cannot just have one. Many gardeners say they can even have their own personalities and a joy to have watching over the garden. If your gardening friends like gnomes or not I am pretty sure they will appreciate this nibble my bits bird feeder.
This cheeky and funny little garden gnome will have all the birds after him in no time! He makes a great gardening present for those gardeners who like a giggle in the garden every now and then.
If you want more gardening gift ideas check out our article on 100 gifts for gardeners here.
Not only do allotments help local people provide fresh organic food they also act as a community hub and great for wildlife. Allotment gifts can reward our eco friendly friends and encourage them to enhance and improve their food production.
This can be a great bonus for us when they have a glut of fruit and veg in the summer months. Just saying! Growing vegetables has been shown to improve our health in two main ways; Good amounts of exercise gardening and eating organic produce free of herbicides and pesticides. It is not surprise therefore that the population is actively encouraged to grow more food.
What better way to do this than treating your allotment keeping friends to some cool allotment gifts. There are simply loads to choose from. From polytunnels to garden tiller to harvesting trugs to gardening hand tools. We have put together a full comprehensive allotment gifts checklist here.
Vegetable harvesting trug
Sometimes the biggest challenge for allotment gardeners is finding what to do with all the excess produce they have. One fantastic allotment gift to help them get around this problem is a vegetable harvesting trug. Its bowel shaped base and wide sides allow vegetable growers to haul large collections of produce away with them easily.
Sowing and harvesting calendar
This Vegetable sowing and harvesting calendar is one of those allotment gifts that will never go unused. This visual planning tool will mean your allotment going friend will never miss out on sowing or harvesting and crops at any time of the year.
Personalized allotment sign
Whatever your allotment friends love to grow you can guarantee it will be an extension of their personality. The best allotment gifts play to this theme including this personalized allotment sign. Let your friends proudly mark their vegetable growing plot with this great allotment sign.
Scott & Co vegetable seed sack
There are literally hundreds of varieties of different herbs, vegetables and fruits all to be experimented with. This makes seeds such valuable allotment gifts for your vegetable growing friends. This vegetable seed sack contains dozens of vegetable seeds with a handy sack which can be used again and again.
Allotment month by month
Hence allotment gardeners spend lazy days when the weather is bad researching information which can excel there growing adventures. This is a great idea for allotment gifts as the weather is not always fine and there is simply so much to learn. Allotment month by month breaks down everything you need to know about allotment growing and will make enjoyable reading for any allotment owner.
It seems hedgehogs have been making good use of peoples gardens for food and shelter. Most gardens have plenty of slugs, snails and insects for food and plenty of places to shelter and raise young. In recent years however less home owners have time to spend gardening.
This has led to a rise in minimalist landscaping which has no benefit to hedgehogs at all. Allotments however provide much better conditions for hedgehogs. This hedgehog home will make the perfect allotment gift and encourage local hedgehogs to feast on your garden pests.
Gardener’s tool belt
This means it is easy for an allotment owner to start on one project and end up doing completely another without even thinking about it. A great way to choose allotment gift is to try and tackle this issue head on. This gardener’s tool belt is perfect for projects around the vegetable plot.
It allows gardeners to have every tool to hand right when they need it. This gift is a perfect way to show your allotment friends you care.
Funky veg kit
This enthusiasm for experimentation means vegetable gardeners enjoy the challenge of growing wacky and even crazy looking vegetable varieties. It is a fact that an allotment gardener has the ability to grow weird and wonderful things you simply cannot buy at the supermarket.
This funky vegetable kit is a collection of extraordinary looking vegetable seeds in a box. It makes a perfect gift for allotment owners and one they will cherish at any occasion.
This consistency even in the cold winter month is the reason allotment gardeners manage to produce so much impressive produce. There are however some small things which make all the difference when working the allotment. A hot cup of tea or coffee allows vegetable gardeners to stay warm and vibrant during cold and miserable days.
This makes all the difference to an allotments success having the plot prepared and ready for sowing in early spring. This allotment mug will be highly treasured by your gardening friends and make them think of you when the days are short and cold.
It has been measured that digging and turning the soil can burn as much as 500 calories per hour. This means a 5 hour session at the allotment could leave you in a complete daily calorie deficit for the whole day! Indeed digging is also a fantastic exercise for both loosing fat and strengthening the core muscles.
Allotment gardeners are very often fit individuals with a fresh organic diet to match. One down side to digging is they do get through many digging spades over the year. This is a good reason to gift them with the perfect digging allotment gift. This digging spade is lean and ready to accompany your allotment friends at any time of year.
This is sometimes the secret to why so many people love spending time at the allotment. Nowadays it is such a joy to be surrounded by the pleasure of birds singing and not be interrupted by phones or emails. This off-grid time spend away from the home allows for a satisfying feeling of self reliance.
This combined with a warm cup of tea on a chilly afternoon can be a joy most people in modern society miss. This Kelly kettle makes a perfect allotment gift allowing you to make hot drinks by burning small sticks and debris to boil water. Commonly used by wild campers this Kelly kettle is invaluable on the allotment.
Solar wind up radios
Every now and then however allotment gardeners need a little piece of entertainment while they work. This is much welcomed even if it is a local weather report occasionally. This solar wind up radio is perfect for allotment as it requires no mains power to work at all.
Not only would it be great for the allotment but it could also be great for a crisis. The solar wind up radio is a perfect allotment gift for birthdays or Christmas.
Tweed flat cap
Both scenarios are probably more than likely on the allotment and in both cases it’s probably a good idea to have something on your head. Allow your gardening friends to blend in with fellow gardeners with this rather stylish flat cap. What an appropriate allotment gift for any time of year?
Allotment storage shed
This can be rather awkward and laborious at the best of times. Hence an absolutely fantastic allotment gift for your friends is an allotment storage shed! These are perfect for locking up tools and even starting off young seedlings. They can be easily assembled on site on a simple, level base.
Solitary bee hotel
Most allotment gardeners today have a greater understanding of the benefits of ecological pest control. A great way to encourage more wildlife to your friend’s allotment is to give them this solitary bee hotel as a gift. It will attract solitary bees and wasps which will keep pests under control and help to pollinate flowering fruits.
Petrol garden tiller
This is especially the case if a gardener has taken a new allotment for the first time. Chances are the plot will be full of grass and weeds with compacted ground. Getting an allotments soil oxygenated and ameliorated is crucial to grow healthy crops and make weeding easier.
There is not quicker and thorough way to do this than with a professional garden tiller. This machine would make a perfect allotment gift enabling your friends to save so much time digging. This means they can spend more time doing the jobs they love!
Gardening hand tool set
There are always times when vegetable gardeners need to work closely and personal with the ground. This usually requires a good selection of hand tools. This gardening hand tool set is perfect for allotment gardeners to carry out planting, sowing, weeding and many other gardening chores.
It is the perfect allotment gift for your vegetable gardening friends.
Id rather be down the allotment t shirt
Not only that it has to be said after a few hours of working the land they can get rather messy! Why not combine a solution to these two aspects and buy them this great t-shirt.
The 'id rather be down the allotment' T-shirt will allow them show off while also saving their good t-shirts from the wear and tear of gardening. It’s a truly great allotment gift if they prefer to wear it for either task.
Gardeners hand cream set
What better way to show your allotment friends you care than gifting them with a skin care gift! This gardeners hand cream gift will allow your friends to protect and moisturize tired and expose skin. Whatever the time of year or what the weather brings this hand cream set will make a very useful allotment gift.
This is when it pays to be organized and when of the best ways to do this is monitor everything intensely. This is particularly relevant when sowing seedlings! It is so easy to lose track of what you have planted and at what time.
This can lead to complete confusion and frustration at the most important part of the season. These extremely functional gardening labels make a great gardening gift and very useful to allotment gardeners.
Paper pot maker
Plastic breaks down into tiny pieces and can enter our bodies at a microscopic level. The long term implications for this are still unknown. Finding alternatives to plastic wherever possible should now be a priority for everybody.
This is especially true for vegetable gardeners with pots and potting trays made up primarily of plastic. This paper pot maker could make an extremely eco friendly allotment gift. It allows your gardener mates to create pots easily by recycling waste paper which biodegrades organically.
Leather gardening gloves
These leather gardening gloves are robust and ready for serious vegetable gardening. They not only protect the hands but forearms also perfect for all kinds of gardening tasks. They are also snug and warm so perfect for cold and wet days on the allotment.
Because allotment growers want to eat organic, fresh produce without chemical pesticides creating a place for wildlife is a wise investment. One of the best ways you can encourage wildlife to any area is to install a wildlife pond. This can even be just a very small pool of water to have a large impact on wildlife.
This wildlife pond is a perfect allotment gift all you need is a spade, a hose and just wait for the wildlife to arrive!
Gardeners wheel barrow
Activities such as harvesting and spreading composted material are very effective with a wheel barrow on site. This wheelbarrow will make a fantastic allotment gift honesty your friend will wonder how they ever coped without it.
This vital period of a young plants life is the most crucial. Hence allotment gardeners benefit by providing a stable environment during this time. The most effective way to do this is with an electric propagator.
This allows you to start off seedlings when it is too cold early on in the season to sow direct. These propagators come in a variety of shapes and sizes and make fantastic allotment gifts.
There are many different ways to compost but a fantastic, quick and easy way is to use a compost tumbler. This rotating barrel allows organic material to be oxygenated without the need for heavy turning.
Compost tumblers can make suitable compost in as little as six weeks as long as the correct waste types are added with sufficient moisture. A compost tumbler could make the perfect present for your allotment friends.
Gardener’s bits and bobs tin
They may need some twine to tie back the tomatoes or grab some gardening labels to name a new succession sowing. These allotment bits and bobs can become rather disorganized very quickly and a good way to contain them is a gardeners bits and bobs tin.
This awesome little allotment gift comes with some pre arranged bits and bobs to get started. After some time this tin will be the go to place for all their gardening essentials.
Polytunnels allow vegetable gardeners to extend their growing season considerably making them an ideal allotment gift. They come in all shapes and sizes but popular allotment examples are around 6 meters by 2 meters and cost about the amount of a good quality lawn mower.
Allotment planting auger
Planting alone can take up an extraordinary amount of time and energy especially in spring and early summer. A perfect allotment gift which can mitigate this is a petro auger. This allows the allotment gardener to bore out sections of ground perfect for planting small shrubs and young plants.
There are now even hand drill planting attachments perfect for smaller plants and bulbs. These allow the gardener to save time and become more efficient on the vegetable plot.
Allotments are more likely to be visited by birds and small mammals looking for an easy meal. This is where a deterrent is needed and what better way to gift your allotment friends than with this cool and cheeky traditional scare crow.
There has always been some controversy over if these scare crows do actually scare off pests. Either way there is no doubt that every little helps and even if the pests still come it certainly will add character to your friend’s allotment plot.
This can be messy and challenging work and really sets apart the fair weather gardeners from the hard core horticulturists. For this reason when searching for the perfect allotment gifts it is important to try to make these times more enjoyable.
What better way to gift your allotment friends than with this thermos flask. It will keep them topped up with hot drinks on even the coldest days so they keep warm inside and out while working.
Working hard usually means keeping warm but staying on your feet all day can become tiring after a while. Sometimes you simply need some relaxing moments. Allotment gardeners love to sit back and watch over their progress every now and then and this is the perfect gift for such an occasion.
Most of the time allotment owners will try to compost as much dead and woody material as possible to recycle nutrients. However there are many occasions where certain material is better off incinerating including perennial weed roots and self seeding weeds.
By burning these it is far less likely they will return next season. This makes this incinerator a very effective allotment gift.
Traditionally gardeners have used a combination of spades, folks and hand trowels. The problem with trowels is they can be hard on the rists especially if they are working with heavy soils. Spades and folks do not allow you to work closely to the soil making them less suitable for intricate tasks.
This digging hoe on the other hand is perfect for all sorts of gardening tasks. Using a swinging momentum it allows you to plant, hoe and weed the soil at close range with minimal effort.
Why not also check out Garden Diva's for more allotment gift ideas.
Cool garden games
Over the last decade, the market has been awash with supersized outdoor versions of traditional family games. Just like badminton and swing ball, all your favourite competitions can now be played outside in the garden on hot summer afternoons. As big fans of outdoor events and social gatherings – we really love a family cookout – we were very excited to explore some of these ‘giant’ garden games.
For this list of the coolest garden games, we tried to stick with fairly classic and traditional choices. Some of them you’ll be more used to playing indoors (like dominoes). Others were made for use outside (like boules), but you may never have tried them before. Hopefully, it’ll include some activities which are completely new to you and perfect for your backyard.
Like tennis, badminton can be played with two or four (two to a team) players. The objectives are to score points by batting the shuttlecock into your opponent’s half and prevent your opponent from scoring by returning their attempts. The rules are so simple even young children can play though it may take time to develop their batting skills.
Backyard badminton kits come with two or four bats. We recommend a four-player kit; the more players, the more fun you’ll have. You’ll get several shuttlecocks (believe us, they’re easy to lose), two poles and a net. Push the poles into the grass and stretch the mesh net between them to create your playing area.
There are all kinds of outdoor bowling kits available on the market. Some are quite sophisticated with sleek wooden pins and balls; these are best for adult players. For children and families, we recommend one of the enlarged sets. The pins are bigger than normal so you can set it up in a large space and give little ones a shot at a strike.
Points are scored when a player successfully hits their ball through a hoop. However, they can also prevent opponents from scoring by using their turn to strike at other people’s balls and knock them off course. This is why croquet is such fun; just make sure you play with people who don’t mind a healthy dose of competition!
The fun, casual archery sets come with sucker tipped arrows as opposed to sharp-pointed ones. These are much safer; even the poorest shots will bounce off a spectator without causing any harm. These backyard games come with a bow, multiple arrows, a quiver for storing arrows and a height-adjustable target board. If you want to play as a family, pick a slightly taller board that can be adjusted to fit all your competitors.
5. Giant Jenga
Although, if you buy a set that comes with a high-quality storage bag, it’s not much of a problem. Keep the bag away from moisture in a garden shed and it’ll always be in good condition. You’d think making the pieces bigger would result in an easier game of Jenga, but you might be in for a surprise. Don’t forget to jump out of the way when those bricks come tumbling down or you may end up buried under them.
6. Garden Dominoes
These giant Jenga sets come in one of two forms. You can get giant foam pieces or pieces made from wood. Both types play just as efficiently but wooden pieces are probably going to last longer and sustain less damage over the years. If you’ve ever owned a foam game set, you’ll know gouges and tears are a possibility.
Each player has multiple balls to throw during a round. They may use any of their turns to throw directly at an opponent’s ball and knock it off course much like in games of croquet. Again, there are lots of different boules sets on the market. Some sets are of a professional quality with polished chrome balls. Others are more family-oriented; we’re particularly fond of the lightweight plastic balls you can fill with water.
The teams need one (or several) offense and defence players who start each game at opposite ends of the space. Offense players are not allowed to cross into the opposite endzone and vice versa. It means players should be in an endzone with opponents. The objective to make as many passes to your teammates as possible and prevent your opponent’s passes by intercepting them.
So, you end up with a game which looks similar to a classic hoopla only with more than one target. The gameplay is as simple as the set-up. Like a ring toss or hoopla, players throw stiffened rope rings at the targets. Scores are determined according to the number on the ‘captured’ spoke. The player with the highest score at the end wins the game.
10. Giant Four in a Row
It works much like a massive game of tic tac toe. The first player to insert four coloured counters into the slots in a straight undisturbed line (horizontal, vertical or diagonal) wins the round and the points. Players must work fast and keep one eye on their opponent to thwart attempts to occupy winning slots.
Giant Four in a Row is another example of a perfect backyard game for families and young children in particular. The rules are so simple anybody can play. As the pieces are very large, taking turns doesn’t require much dexterity or skill. In fact, just handling the pieces and inserting the counters into the slots can be a form of movement-based learning for toddlers.
11. Yard Twister
The game board is neatly divided into quarters. Each quarter depicts a body part and four different colours. The referee (who doesn’t play) spins an arrow and players must attempt to follow the instructions according to the body part and colour it lands on. For example, ‘right hand, red’ sees all players attempting to put this hand on a red circle on the mat. Things get tough quickly as the player’s body positions become increasingly ‘twisty.’
You get two vertical poles and a limbo stick for balancing horizontally across them. The objective is simple; pass beneath the limbo stick without touching it. Players must face forwards and stay on their feet. Kneeling and crawling are forbidden. After each round, the limbo stick is lowered slightly to make the game tougher.
On their turn, each batter strikes a fast bowled ball. They must then run as far as possible around four posts to complete a ‘rounder’ before the ball is captured and used to ‘tag’ them out. Ultimately, a batter is only safe when stood touching a post. They can be eliminated at any time while they are running between posts, so this is a game for the speedsters.
14. Treasure Hunt
Our favourite version requires the game supervisors (parents) to hide plastic tokens or coins around the backyard and house. There is a treasure map which corresponds with the locations; children can work individually or alone to find them. We definitely recommend purchasing a game which can be played more than once. Some maps have stick on components which can be rearranged and reused.
15. Giant Noughts and Crosses
It’s really just personal preference as both versions are played in the same way. You perhaps need a slightly flatter surface for a game board with a rigid back. As for the rules, well, you probably know them already. As with tic tac toe and Connect Four, the objective is to be the first player to create a straight uninterrupted line with your counters.
16. Giant Chess
Supersizing the chessboard can make it easier for new players to learn. They can physically move around the board, weave in and out of the pieces and put themselves in the place of a rook, bishop or pawn. It brings a whole new perspective to a very old activity and it’s one of our favourite items on this list.
17. Swing Ball
If you purchase a freestanding swing ball set, there’s no set up required. Place the swing ‘tower’ on a flat surface in an open area. Providing the product is of a high quality, the base should be weighted to prevent it from toppling over. Players must use plastic bats to hit a tennis ball on a wire and send it careering towards their opponent who must hit it back.
Garden trampolines come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes. Most include a safety net which hangs around the perimeter to prevent jumpers from bouncing off the sides. These mesh nets are said to reduce trampoline injuries by as much as 50%. Therefore, it is worth paying more for one and spending the extra time to install it.
Paulo Andreas is a garden & outside gadget guru searching, testing and reviewing the latest and best Cool Garden Gadgets. Feel free to comment on any of the gadgets posted here. Paulo