Jane Griffiths. Photographs: Jane Griffiths and Keith Knowlton.

"In every gardener there is a child who believes in The Seed Fairy." Robert Brault

The joy of giving not only a home made gift but a home grown one will be treasured as you are giving the precious gift of your time. Her are a few ideas for some great garden gifts.

 A salad that keeps giving

Buy a large salad bowl and fill it with small pots of herb and salad seedlings that you have propagated yourself. Include a selection of greens (red and green lettuce, rocket, and Asian greens) along with some tasty salad herbs (basil, mint and coriander). Include hand written notes on how to grow the salad. (See below.)

Growing tips

To propagate your salad bowl, fill a selection of seedling pots with mixture of compost, vermiculite and organic seedling fertiliser. Press down well. Sow the seeds according to the directions on the packet (some will need to be deeper than others.) Place in a warm, sheltered position and keep moist until the seedlings germinate.

Lettuce, rocket and Asian greens

Lettuces and Asian greens prefer shelter from the hot afternoon sun in summer. They need regular moisture and rich soil. Rather pick a selection of leaves from a number of plants than harvesting a whole plant.

Basil, mint and coriander

Plant seedlings in full sun. Mint can become invasive so plant it in a pot. Coriander tends to go to seed in hot weather but the green seeds are delicious in salads. Picking the flowers from basil will encourage leafier growth.

Home made herbal vinegar

Use your home grown herbs, (such as rosemary, winter savory and tarragon) to create tasty flavoured vinegar for zingling a salad dressing, perking up a marinade or adding a twist to pickled vegetables. White or red wine vinegar, malt vinegar or apple cider vinegar are all good choices.

To make: spread fresh herbs out in a warm place to dry for a day to reduce their moisture content. Place ½ cup of partially dried, finely chopped herbs in a sterilised bottle; pour 2 cups of vinegar over the herbs. Seal and leave to infuse in a dark spot for at least 3 weeks, shaking occasionally. Strain and decant into a storage bottle.

Herb flavoured oil

This herbal oil both preserves the herb and creates a tasty flavoured oil. Good choices are basil, coriander, chives, oregano, rosemary, savory, tarragon and thyme.

To make: Tear up fresh leaves and layer them in a sterilised bottle, covering each layer with good quality olive oil. Poke the layers gently with a chopstick to remove any bubbles and seal.

Seed cards

Make Christmas cards from recycled paper with embedded seeds - simply plant the cards for an instant garden!

To make: Place shredded paper into a blender and add hot water to cover. Blend until pulped and leave to cool. Strain through wire mesh, pressing to get as much water out as possible. Mix in seeds of your choice and spread the pulp evenly onto an old towel or piece of felt or flannel. Using a sponge to smooth and mop up any moisture, spread the pulp as evenly and thinly as possible. Press down with a towel to remove the final water. Leave to dry.

Written by Jane Griffiths. Source: Adapted from the book: Jane’s Delicious Garden. Website

Photographs: Jane Griffiths and Keith Knowlton.



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