You pile up all kinds of plant debris all year long and then one beautiful, cool, sunny fall day you go out there and dig below that first layer of uncomposted material and there it is.
Compost. Black gold. A gardener's dream. The plants' delight.
When you add compost to your garden you can't help but have bountiful vegetable harvests and beautiful flowers.
Which brings me to the third handmade gift for a gardener, a compost sieve.
Thought it isn't crafty like a seed packet or a garden journal, a compost sieve is a useful handmade gift that any gardener would appreciate.
I made mine from 1 x 6 cedar boards and half inch hardware cloth. As you can see, you make two sides wider than your wheelbarrow, so the sieve can sit on top of it. I used narrow strips of wood on the side with the hardware cloth to help hold it in place.
Your measurements will vary depending on the size of the wheelbarrow, so I won't include measurements here.
You all know how to use a compost sieve, right? You put it over the wheelbarrow, shovel a few scoops of compost in it, and then push the compost through the screening into the wheelbarrow. What doesn't go through the screen you throw back into the compost bin.
To make this a complete gift for a new gardener, you might also include some of your own instructions on how to make a compost pile, but don't make it too complicated. Compost doesn't have to be complicated with all kinds of rules about green material and brown material and watering and turning.
Compost is easy! Just pile on the plant material and eventually, a miracle happens. Compost happens.
Yes, with the "proper" ratios of green/brown plant material, watering, and turning, compost will happen faster, but even without all of that, it will still happen eventually.
Would you like to see my compost area after I worked on it all morning and half the afternoon?
Here it is! From the right... one fairly full bin, then a half filled bin, and an empty bin. On the far left is a pile of potting soil emptied out of some of the containers.
I'm stock piling the old potting soil because I'll need some dirt at some point to fill in some place, and the raised beds, where I usually dump the old potting soil, are full to the top with all good rich compost I harvested today.
I'm not done cleaning up the container plants, leaves, hostas, etc., but I'm relaxed and confident knowing that I have plenty of room in my bins for all of it. And I'm eager to plant the vegetable garden next spring, in all those beds enriched with compost.
So that's idea no. 3. Share that good compost feeling by making a compost sieve for your favorite gardener.