A polytunnel can help you to provide for the needs of you and your family throughout the year. But a polytunnel can also help you to create DIY Christmas presents for all the important people in your life. A home-made Christmas gift can mean more than a present bought in the shops, and allow you to show off your home-growing and DIY skills. Here are five DIY Christmas present ideas for polytunnel gardeners:
Home-Made Jams, Chutneys and Preserves
A polytunnel can allow you to grow a wide range of fruits and vegetables that you can use to create a range of home-made jams, chutneys and other preserves that can make wonderful Christmas gifts. A little preparation throughout the year can allow you to make the most of the produce that you grow, and enjoy fresh fruit and vegetable flavours even during the coldest part of the year.
Baked DIY Christmas Presents
Frozen or otherwise preserved polytunnel produce can also be used to make a wide range of baked goods for Christmas hampers – which can also make wonderful Christmas gifts. Cakes, biscuits, truffles or other baked goods can all make wonderful gifts for the festive season, and these can also be made using a wide range of polytunnel grown fruits or vegetables.
DIY Christmas Drinks Using Polytunnel Produce
Another way to turn the fruits and vegetables that you grow in your polytunnel into exciting Christmas gifts is to make drinks for Christmas that you can give away to family and friends. You could consider making alcoholic drinks such as cider or wine, or infusing stronger alcohols with fruits or berries.
DIY Christmas Cleaning & Beauty Products
Many polytunnel grown herbs and flowers can also be used to make a wide range of Christmas gifts. For example, you could consider making your own soaps, shampoos, hair rinses, cleansers, moisturising lotions or bath bombs using the aromatic plants that you have grown.
DIY Christmas Seed Packs
You could also consider using Christmas as an excuse to introduce others to the joys of home growing. A nicely packaged seed pack could make a lovely Christmas gift, to help your friends or family to get started with growing and eating their own food year round. Gifting some of your own seeds, collected from your polytunnel could be a great and sustainable way to show your loved ones how much you care.
The above ideas are just some of the many things that polytunnel gardeners could consider gifting as DIY Christmas present ideas this year. Other ideas could include using pruned wood or berries to create unique, natural Christmas decorations, gift boxes, dyed natural fabrics or home décor… there are almost limitless ideas for home-made Christmas gifts for those who harness the power of nature to grow things in their gardens.
Why not make your own wrapping paper too?
Christmas can be a busy time of the year. It can also be expensive. But Christmas need not be a consumerist nightmare. Polytunnel gardeners are well-placed to enjoy a home-made Christmas, with plenty of DIY projects made possible by growing your own produce at home. There are plenty of DIY Christmas present ideas for polytunnel gardeners. But polytunnel gardeners could also consider making Christmas more sustainable by making their own wrapping paper.
There are plenty of ways to make your own wrapping paper or other gift wrapping solutions without having to resort to shop-bought papers which often come at a huge cost to the environment. One idea is to make your own paper using plant fibres from in and around your polytunnel.
In addition to finding fibrous plants, to make your own wrapping paper you will also need:
- A blender (to make breaking down the fibres easier)
- A large container in which to put the water and plant fibres.
- A hessian or fine mesh screen.
- (Optional) Natural materials to make natural dyes/ paints for your wrapping paper.
How To Make Your Own Wrapping Paper
- Wearing gloves, carefully remove the leaves from nettle stems (or collect other fibrous plant materials).
- Soak nettle stems and remove the woody outer layers to collect the bast fibres inside.
- Take the bast fibres, cut them into small pieces.
- Blend the bast fibres with water in your blender.
- Place the fibres suspended in water in a large container.
- Draw the hessian or mesh screen up through the water and fibre solution so the fibres form a thin layer on top of the screen.
- Carefully place the layer of fibre on a flat surface to dry.
Once your nettle fabric-like paper is dry, you can use it to wrap gifts as is for a natural look, or decorate your wrapping paper using other materials from your polytunnel.
You could consider using natural dyes from plants grown in your polytunnel to add pigments to your wrapping paper, or create stamps from polytunnel grown potatoes and natural paints to make a pattern on your home-made wrapping paper. If you are short on time, you could also consider using bought natural fabrics or paper decorated in this way to wrap your gifts this Christmas.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.
To get in touch, visit https://ewspconsultancy.com.