My father just retired and has mentioned wanting to start a garden. As a gift to him I would like to supply him with a basic "get started" basket. What all should I include?
A back brace and knee pads!! Actually, it isn't THAT bad. Good set of gardening shears, a nice trowel and don't forget the hat to protect from the sun. Disposable rubber gloves to protect from poison ivy are a must sometimes, at least in my yard.
Depends on what sort of gardening he is interested in, and how much - if any- experience he has. Assuming he doesn't know quite what aspect appeals to him, and he has no experience, I would first introduce him to this forum!
In a basket [I'd use one of those all-purpose 5-gallon pails]: a sturdy trowel; a small box of nitrile gloves; a small bag of vermiculite; a bag of ready-made soil for starting seeds; a small tray or pack of seed-starting pots; packets of quick, easy-to-grow seeds such as marigolds, zinnias, carrots, lettuce or mesclun mix, and bush beans; a pot with a healthy tomato plant; a copy of Bartholomew's 'Square Foot Gardens' and a copy of Lanza's 'Lasagna Gardening'; a bar of gardener's soap; 2 thick foam kneeling pads (believe me, two is 4 times better than one); some nice label-stakes; a ball of twine with a small pair of scissors; a small notebook - the first page should say that this is your gift. The second page should have the GardenWeb's e-address; the address of one or two local nurseries (maybe with a gift card?); and directions to your local recycling center where he can obtain shredded leaves. And a card that volunteers some of your time would be really nice!
An easy-to-read book on whatever aspect of gardening he is interested in or, even better, enroll him in a basic gardening class. I had a few men in my basic gardening class - always good to have testosterone in a class with a bunch of old ladies.
Wow!!!! Some really great ideas. I will be sure to take all your suggestions.
Due to the distance between us, I will only be able to volunteer my time when our family goes for a visit. The gift card idea and the class idea are great. I'm going to look into that right now. If anyone lives in AZ, more specifically Sierra Vista, and knows of any classes let me know.
I think he had mentioned wanting to start a vegtable garden.
Angela...the "angel" part of your name is really showing. What a sweetie you are to put the thought and effort into a wonderful gift for your dad. I hope he loves gardening.
I live in the Sierra Vista area and know of a wonderful basic gardening class that runs as a college semester runs. i.e. four months ---- It's at the Cochise Community College campus in SV and the new one starts in late August. I think it comes under the Agriculture department and I think it's called "Home Gardening". Anyway, it's the only gardening class that the college offers. Jan Groth is the instructor and she is fabulous!! But sign up asap as the class is advertised externally and it fills.
He'll love it, I'm sure and he won't be the only man. I had some husbands in it but there were two or three single fellows there too. (one of 'em it was easy to see why he was single - tee hee)