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The Best Garden Gift

By Emmy Ulmschneider, Master Gardener

It is that season! So, what do you give to a gardener? My feeling is that, like knowing what style of clothing you like or a favorite author whose books you devour, serious gardeners know what tools fit their gardening style needs and they probably already have a go to brand or type.

There is however one gardening tool that I can never have enough of. In fact, this gardening tool has become so useful that I use it for storing items inside and out, carrying laundry and of course gardening. Twenty some years ago, I was given one by a former Master Gardener and they have been a staple of my life ever since. I am referring to the lowly garden trug. The trug is an indispensable part of your garden, and home tool kit.

So, what is a trug? To answer that question, we need to delve back into history and go to where gardening reigns supreme: England. The word trug is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word trog which was originally a boat shaped vessel for measuring or carrying grain. The Sussex trug, made in a specific way and updated for general garden use was made popular when Queen Victoria purchased them in 1851. As agriculture modernized after the second World War, trugs became redundant. But, as gardening has changed the trug has evolved and now can be found in a variety of styles, shapes, materials, and for various uses. Handmade, wooden, artisanal trugs are still made around Sussex, England and overseas imitations of wood or woven natural materials are commonly available.

What all trugs have in common is durability, sturdy handles for carrying, and a variety of sizes and shapes. My trug of choice is one of plastic. They are flexible, durable, and come in a variety of shapes, materials, sizes, and colors. They range in size from 20 gallons down to roughly one cup. In addition to the traditional tub shape, you can find shallow trugs, shopping baskets, and strainers. They can be made from recycled, food safe, UV and frost resistant materials. I have used trugs to carry everything from garden tools to compost, soil, garden weeds, leaves, laundry as wells as to harvest water under a gutter or the last fall harvest of tomatoes and peppers. I have mixed everything in them from soil amendments to water soluble fertilizers. They store my garden gloves, plastic containers, and upside-down native plants to collect seed.

So, if you are struggling to find the PERFECT gift for a gardener, go to your computer or local store and look for the perfect trug.

If you have questions, call the AgriLife office in Odessa at 498-4071 or in Midland at 686-4700.

Additional information, and our blog for access to past articles, is available at Click on “Resources”.


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