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Gardener Gift Guide

It’s that time of year again! The seed catalogs are coming out soon, and the holidays are just around the corner. We know that many heirloom gardeners strive to give meaningful, practical, and waste-free gifts, so we’ve created a gardener gift guide. Here are some of our favorite ideas, whether you’re shopping for seed savers, homesteaders, new gardeners, or even just nature lovers. 

Mother Earth News Magazine Subscription 

There’s something wonderful about flipping through the pages of a magazine in today’s digital world, and Mother Earth News is one of our favorites! SESE’s own Ira Wallace has been a contributor, and we typically attend and always enjoy Mother Earth News Fairs. 

It’s full of information on gardening, sustainable living, homesteading, livestock, cooking, natural health, and more. You can purchase six issues of Mother Earth News for someone on their website.

Hand using CobraHead ‘Steel Fingernail’ Weeder and CultivatorCobraHead’ Steel Fingernail’ Weeder and Cultivator 

No matter how long you’ve been gardening, dealing with weeds is still challenging. Give the gardener in your life a helping hand with the CobraHead’ Steel Fingernail.‘ 

Ira Wallace reviewed this tool herself:

I don’t usually get excited about small tools, but the CobraHead got me excited about weeding. Made in the USA of knife-quality steel, it’s simply the best all-around small tool I’ve come across. National Garden Club testers were really impressed with the tool and all it can do. It cuts through all types of soils. The weeds it can’t cut, it lifts. The self-sharpening blade can be used in all directions. The comfortable handle is made from recycled plastic. The CobraHead has a full one-year warranty against manufacturer defects. If defective, return it within the year together with your receipt, and we’ll send you another or refund your money.

Wild Garden Perennial Insectary Mix

This mix is the perfect gift or stocking stuffer for those looking to make their yard and garden a little more eco-friendly. The Wild Garden Perennial Insectary Mix provides the backbones of a spring-through-fall oasis for your resident beneficial insects. 

A complement of self-sowing annuals, biennials, and perennials provides food, shelter, and pollen. Includes fennel, Korean mint, garden sorrel, mustard, chervil, parsley, chicory, cress, turnip, calendula, amaranth, and orach. The leaves are also edible by humans. 

Virginia Biological Farming Annual Conference BannerEvent Tickets

Education is a significant gift idea. Be on the look for gardening workshops, conferences, and summits in your area or those you think would be a good fit for your loved one. 

SESE will be attending several upcoming events, including the 2023 Virginia Biological Farming Conference, The Tennessee Local Food Summit, and the Texas Mother Earth News Fair.

Garden Planner

Especially when you’ve got big gardens, they can be hard to keep track of! Give your loved one a bit of help with our Garden Planner. This online tool helps manage your garden throughout the season and from year to year.

It’s easy to draw out your vegetable beds, add plants and move them around to get the perfect layout and a personalized planting calendar for your location. You can even order our seeds directly from the planner!

Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land

“This is the most inspiring book I have read in years.” ~ Ira Wallace

Leah Penniman’s book, ‘Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land,’ is a rich and culturally relevant how-to manual for black and brown farmers. It’s filled with uplifting stories of black contributions to agriculture and the ongoing work at Soul Fire Farm to build an anti-racist and just food system. 

SESE Gift Certificates

Stuck on what to buy your favorite gardener? Grab a SESE gift certificate, and we’ll mail it to whoever your choose. They can use it to buy their favorites from the SESE catalog. 

DIY Seed Collection

If you’re a seed saver yourself, seeds make an excellent gift! You can give a loved one a few of your favorite heirlooms or maybe seeds for a themed garden like a pizza garden. You can also shop for seeds to supplement your own and make a personal collection.

Guides to Growing in the Southeast

SESE’s Ira Wallace has expanded her original Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Southeast into Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina guides. Grab one for the southern gardener in your life!

Herbalism Courses

Many of the folks that follow SESE also share a passion for herbalism. While reading articles and books is excellent, an herbalism course can help someone get more hands-on experience with feedback. Many places now offer reputable courses. Some great schools include:

See a longer list of options and other resources at Mountain Rose Herbs.

This season isn’t all about shopping and gifts, but we hope to offer ideas and options that are both meaningful and sustainable. Try one of these gift ideas, or get some inspiration from this list to create your own, and give someone in your life a waste-free gift that will make them a better gardener, seed saver, or homesteader. 

Southern Exposure’s Holiday Gift Guide

Everyone wants to find presents that make their friends and family feel understood, appreciated, and loved. Thankfully for anyone who like gardening or wants to learn there’s plenty of easy, affordable, and sustainable gift ideas to excite any gardener this holiday season.

Many of these ideas are also great whole family gift ideas for those with kids. Gardening focused gifts can help children get excited and involved in the outdoors with their family.

Popcorn Sheller and Popcorn

Check out some of SESE’s awesome popcorn varieties like the rainbow Cherokee Long Ear Small Popcorn (pictured above) or  Pennsylvania Butter-Flavored Popcorn for a truly gardener twist on the classic “movie night” basket. For the ulimate experience check in during harvest time and bring over your favorite gardening documentary.

Mushroom Spawn

Know a gardener or budding permaculturalist looking to branch out? You can order mushroom spawn from Sharondale Farm through SESE. It’s an excellent gift for those looking to add productivity to shady areas of a property.

DIY Insect Hotel, Bird, or Bat House

Handmade gifts can be especially meaningful. Making an insect hotel, bird, or bat house will help you show off your DIY skills, improve your loved one’s garden, and give some deserving species a helping hand.

CobraHead ‘Steel Fingernail’ Weeder and Cultivator

This is one of Southern Exposure’s favorite tools for small gardens. National Garden Club testers were really impressed with it as well. Plus it’s made in the USA.

Educational Materials

SESE is known for selling seeds but we also offer some great DVDs and books for any gardener to expand their knowledge and gather more inspirational project ideas. Some of our favorites include:

Be sure to visit the website for more great options!

Seed Mix

Make up a basket of your favorite varieties to share or select one of SESE’s mixes like the Virginia Heritage Seed Collection, Welcom-to-the-Garden Pollinator Collection, or the Three Sisters Garden Package. This is a great idea for the adventurous gardener who loves to try new things.

Seed Saving Basket

Heirloom loving gardeners will love a seed saving gift basket. Pick out some of your favorite heirloom and open pollinated seed varieties and a few of SESE’s seed saving supplies. Things like self-sealing seed packets or seed vials and seed cleaning screens may not seem exciting to everyone but will make a big difference in the life of your favorite seed saver.


It sounds super wierd but anything that will make a garden more productive will make your gardener happier. Gift your friend a homemade compost tea kit, cover crop seeds from SESE, or a garden amendment like work castings or liquid kelp.

Gift Certificates

If you’ve got a particulary picky friend or just can’t decide what to get consider an SESE gift certificate. You can purchase paper gift certificates or digital ones and leave the tough decisions up to them.

Cold Frame

If you’re into handmade gifts, a coldframe is a simple project for those with basic carpentry skills. For the best effect pair it with some cold hardy seeds or a helpful book like Eliot Coleman’s Four Season Harvest.

Your Seed Collections

Part of Southern Exposure’s mission is to keep varieties alive, so we love seeing others share seeds. If you’re a seed saver consider packaging and gifting some of your own seed collections. This is an especially budget friendly gift idea as well, but another gardener will know just how much you care.

Your Time

Not everyone can go on a shopping spree for their favorite gardener. If your budget is tight consider giving a handmade redeemable coupon for your time. Maybe you could offer 1 hour of weeding or help with springtime planting. There isn’t a gardener in the world that’s not going to be excited about getting some free help!

Whatever your budget you can find a great gift for any of the gardeners, seed savers, permaculturalists, or homesteaders in your life.


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