Gift giving is expected this time of year, but there are ways you can avoid going over-board with your spend and turn it green in the process.
We love creating green gifts at Christmas time because not only does it deliver on value it becomes a learning experience for the kids. Gifts don’t have to come wrapped in non-recyclable plastic; gifts can be edible and bio-degradable at the same time. Not to forget hand-made treasure from the kids, can often turn out to be the best of the bunch.
Sunflower seed balls
One of our favourite flowers of all time is the sunflower. It’s a spectacular flower that over delivers on impact and is a winner in most gardens because of its overwhelming power to attract birds and bees into our garden.
Sunflowers are also perfect for the hot Australian conditions at Christmas time, and if you collect the seeds afterwards, it can be a gift that keeps on giving.
- 4 cups of clay (most clay will work. I use bentonite clay)
- 1 cup of fine compost
- Sprinkle of fertiliser
- Water to moisten
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add the water sparingly. Your consistency is everything because you need it to form a ball. If it’s too wet it could trigger the germination process or be difficult to work with. Roll them gently into balls. Don’t compact them together like you would if you were baking in the kitchen, they need to be able to break apart on germination in the garden. Set them out on a tray to dry for 24 hours in a cool, dry spot.
While your seed bombs are drying, get to work creating your packaging from biodegradable materials. Cups or display boxes made out of recycled materials, hessian pouches, even a small pot to start the sunflowers in. Bright sunflower swing tags will brighten up the natural packaging material.
Recycled Herb Tins
Herbs are an awesome gift for anyone and are a valuable addition to any garden kitchen. Having fresh herbs on hand is extremely valuable and cost effective. Some herbs that are super easy to grow and always welcomed in the kitchen are rosemary, mint and basil.
If you want to take it one step further, all three of these herbs can be taken from cuttings. If someone you know already grows herbs, then this is a perfect way to minimise your spend.
What you’ll need
- Used tins, rinsed with labels removed
- Hessian roll approx. 10cm wide
- Twine or thick string
- Herbs of choice
- Good quality potting mix
Make sure you drill 3 holes in the bottom of the tin for drainage. Tins will rust over time, so ensure your tins are used close to the gift giving date. Fill with soil and add your herbs and water well. Wrap the hessian around the tin and secure with the string. You can always use paddle pop sticks as plant identifiers as well. Make sure you use the correct market on the stick or the ink will run when watered.
Gift giving doesn’t have to be expensive or involve shopping centres. Your green gifts are sure to be hit and provide a valuable lesson for children that won’t cost the earth. Family Garden Life embraces a fruitful existence with nature and everything it has to offer. Teaching our kids to respect and care for nature is the foundation of their future.
Author: Rebecca Searles is the founder of Family Garden Life. Family Garden Life is a place to help families grow. It doesn’t matter if you have green thumbs or black thumbs it’s what happens next that will shape your family garden life!