I like to garden and really the only thing that frustrates me is the cold of winter because that means I can not be outside growing my vegetables, herbs and other plants. If you are thinking about getting into gardening here are some ideas and tips to get you going.
Start off Small
Most new gardeners give up because things don’t work out as planned (or as hoped) or they try to do too much in a single growing season. I was like this. My first year with a vegetable garden I think I tried to plant every seed under the sun (and some in the shade). Needless to say with too much planted a lot of my plants suffered for it as did the quality of fruits and vegetables. Pick 2 to 3 items you would really love to grow and go with that. In future seasons you can add on as you get better and more efficient at it.
Maintain Your Soil
Make sure you soil is well taken care of and that means that it is moist and well aerated. Walking on your soil will pack it down and that’s not good for your plants. I use one of those garden weasel tools to help break up any hard soil and allow the air to flow. But also you want to keep in mind to NOT overwork the soil either. Having some smaller clumps is a good thing as well.
Most people think that you need to give your plants water everyday but less at a time. That is the furthest thing from the truth (for most plants anyway). Giving plants a good soaking, but not a drowning, less frequently is much better. This way your plants must reach deep for those water pockets and that creates strong roots.
Don’t forget your compost pile or food waste for compost. Compost adds much needed nutrients to your soil that gets depleted every growing season. You can compost any type of organic matter, such as leaves, grass, branches and so on. Keep them in a pile and using a pitch fork turn the pile over every so often. Soon you will have a nice pile of compost that you mix in with your soil. If that is too much work for you, take your left over food scraps and bury them about 2 feet down in your planting area. Worms will eat the compost and their castings will give you some really great compost. Just remember to turn your over before and after every growing season to bring that compost towards the surface.
Using mulch is a great way to reduce the amount of weeds your garden will see and because mulch is a biodegradable organic material it will also add nutrients to your soil. You could go buy mulch but why would you do that? Instead shred up some newspaper or cardboard and you are all set.
Say no to Chemicals
One thing I do is avoid using any type of chemical fertilizer. I do this because there is no need. The environment provides everything your plant will require to grow, you just have to give it to it such as everything we already mentioned, compost, mulch, water, etc. I won’t go into it in this article but you can actually double use your compost. First as a way to brew some compost tea and then when its done brewing you spread your compost out over your plants. Compost tea is far better than any type of miracle grow or chemical product you will find. Do a Google search on compost tea and you will see what I mean.
Spending just a few minutes everyday at your garden, I like to visit my garden for about 10 minutes in the morning before I go to work, will do wonders not only for your garden but for your sanity. Gardens are very relaxing and it is exciting to watch plants grow that you nurtured from a seed.
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