Allotments are a great place to grow your own food or pretty flowers, and they’re often the pride and joy of their owners! If you are looking for some thoughtful gift ideas for friends or family members who have discovered the joys of allotmenting for themselves, then this handy guide with some great DIY gift ideas is sure to help you out!
Potted tree for the allotment
If the person that you are making your gift for is limited with space in their allotment, a great idea is to get them a tree in a pot. These are ideal as they take up little space and can add fruit, flowers and colour to the allotment, as well as offering shade to plants which need it. Buy a pot which leaves some room for root growth, but not one which is too big for the tree, look at the tree’s rootball to decide on the right size, and ask at a garden centre if you need any assistance. Most trees grow best in loam-based and heavy compost, which will offer stability, as well as support the tree’s growth. A heavy pot is useful for keeping the tree stable, but bear in the mind that if it will be moved around a lot, this could cause problems, sometimes a compromise between stability and movability is needed. Additionally, ensure that the pot has lots of drainage holes, and water the tree a lot, as it will require more water than one in the ground. Ensure that the soil is always moist – but not wet. To make this gift extra thoughtful, plan in advance and plant the seed yourself for a fruit tree, a home-grown tree in a nice pot is a really thoughtful DIY gift.
Citrus plants in DIY personalised pots
If your allotment-loving friend’s mind is always on the plot, then you could make them something so that they can enjoy the pleasures of growing food without leaving the house! A great idea for easy food plants to grow are citrus fruits, particularly Meyer lemons or Kaffir Limes, which can survive very low temperatures and are evergreen and hardy, so can survive outdoors as well as inside. Meyer lemons are delicious and fragile, whilst the leaves, rind and fruit of kaffir limes can be used in cooking, as well as added to spirits for a sour flavour twist! To personalise this gift, buy a ceramic pot and draw a personalised design on it with either a sharpie permanent marker or, ideally, a ceramic pen. Firstly, rub the area to be painted with an alcohol wash to remove any dust, then draw on your design. Once it’s complete, put the pot in a cold oven and then heat it to around 180-200 degrees Celsius. Heat it for around half an hour, then let the oven cool with the pot inside. Once the pot has cooled down fully, the marker pen will have permanently set into the pot. Add the lemon plant and you’ve combined a thoughtful gift with one that’s personalised and quirky!
Wine Bottle Bird Feeder
If there are any trees in your friend or family member’s allotment, you could think about making them a wine bottle bird feeder to hang off it, this will give their plot an interesting feature, as well as bringing wildlife to the area. The concept is simple; drill a small hole in the bottom of a wine bottle, fill it with seeds and it will be able to be picked at by birds, who will perch on a saucer glued to the bottom of the bottle. A diamond drill should be used when drilling the bottle, which should be kept moist throughout the drilling for lubrication. Put the drill in at a 45 degree angle near the bottom of the bottle, and slowly chip away at it, rather than pushing hard. You must be patient in this task, as it’s easy to shatter the bottle if you put excess weight on it or don’t keep the drill bit lubricated. Ensure that you wear goggles, gloves and all necessary protective equipment when carrying out this task. Once the bottle is drilled, cleaned and dry, glue a small saucer to its base with epoxy and wait for it to dry. A good wine bottle to use is one with a hinged, resealable lid, as you can easily attach this to a piece of thick copper wire which, in turn, is tied to the branch of a tree. If using a standard wine bottle, tie thick copper wire around the narrowest part of the bottle and angle the end of this wire upwards to act as a hook, attaching it to hanging copper wire from a tree branch. Next, fill the bottle with seeds and you’re good to go. Remember though, to ensure you put a cork in the top of the bottle, otherwise the birds will just go for that!
Quirky DIY Herb Preservation Kit
If you’re buying for one of those people who – once their plants come into harvest - forces themselves to eat excessive amounts of fresh herbs so that they don’t waste any before they go off, a great idea is to make them a DIY herb preservation kit! Sure, they’ll be a little confused when they see what’s inside, and – to avoid disappointment - maybe this shouldn’t be their only present, but it really will be handy for them, and should make them laugh! The first additions to the kit are an ice cube tray, some olive oil and salt and pepper. Tell your allotmenting friend that if they freeze their excess herbs in oil and a little seasoning, these can be popped straight into a dish of their choice and will last for far longer than fresh herbs! The trick will also work if you freeze herbs in ice, but only in dishes where the added water isn’t a problem. Also include twine and paper bags, so the (somewhat) delighted recipient will be able to hang their herbs to dry in a warm area of their house to use throughout the year. Finally, a jar of salt is a useful addition to the party bag, salt is a great preservative and will also act as a first bit of seasoning for the fresh herbs.
With these handy, unique and thoughtful personalised gift ideas in mind, you’ll be sure to delight and entertain your allotment-loving friends and family this summer, whilst showing that you have really thought about their interest in gardening. Whether you plant them a gorgeous plant or tree, make them interesting bird feeders, or amuse and assist them with a DIY herb preservation bag, you’ll be sure to strike gold with these great DIY gift ideas.
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