The Easy Way to Start a Garden
When we bought our first house with an actual back yard, I was in Nirvana, but I was a curse to all plant life from the start. Greg seemed to take to gardening easily, probably because his father put in a garden every year in their tiny backyard. But me? I killed everything I touched. For a while Greg did all the gardening and I stuck to weeding.
Killing was in my blood and weeding seemed a natural vocation for me.
It's hard to explain just how bad a gardener I was. I loved it so much, but I didn't have a knack for it. My biggest problem, as I learned later is that I was too impatient. I was suckered in by all the beautiful photos I saw in magazines, never realizing those gardeners worked years to get that good.
It's kind of like looking at Facebook. Everyone else always seem to be more successful, have more fun, and do more exciting things than I do. Even their dogs are prettier and smarter. Or so it seems.
I started reading gardening books and listening to experienced gardeners. I took classes to become a certified master gardener. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, my skill improved.
Even today, I still kill lots of plants. Some varieties don't work for me. Others require more care than I want to donate. In the end, the best advice I can give is to grow what works for you.
If you like the idea of gardening, but find it daunting, start with one plant. Even a pot of basil will make you feel heroic and virtuous.
• Grow in pots. So many plants grow well in pots. All they need is a sunny window, water and a good potting mix.
• Start small. Even if you live in an apartment, put a couple of big pots on your balcony. Grow a tomato, peppers, or even potatoes if the pot is deep.
• Know your climate zone. If you live in Canada, there will be many things I can grow in Texas but you can't --and vice versa. Cool weather plants do great in Canada. Here, there's only a small window of opportunity if at all. For example: I can't grow rhubarb. Definitely a cool weather plant.
• Enjoy the fresh air. The nice thing about gardening is that you're outside. Breathe and stretch those muscles. It's good for the body and soul.
• Eat what you grow. There's something very satisfying about eating what you grow. (See above about being virtuous.)
|Even weeds can be useful.|
If you have the room, try raised beds. Some people don't like them, but we swear by them. They've been the most successful of all the gardening we've done. They're easier to keep weeded and watered.
Don't get caught up in the magazine version of what your garden should look like. I have weeds and I'm okay with it. Right now I have a cracking good stand of poison ivy on the front walkway. I'll rip them out once my other projects are done.
Why, oh why do weeds always look so healthy?
Do you grow a garden? Flowers? Edibles? In pots or in the ground?
Are you a natural gardener? I promise I won't hate you for being perfect, but I withhold the right to feel gardener envy. You have no idea how much I wish I had a natural green thumb.
re: sea grapes
Now I'm going to have to look up sea grapes. I've never heard of them before.
I'm encouraging my daughter to enjoy gardening with her after school club friends. It's great to get in the dirt and grow beautiful things.
I commend you for tackling your gardener-killer ways and morphing them into gardener-grower skills :-)
I am not a gardener. I don't like bugs. We have a pear tree in the backyard, but I doubt I pick any of the pears. It's usually swarming with wasps by the time they need to be picked. That, or the worms have gotten into them (learned that one the hard way). I just figure I have the tree to feed the birds and squirrels! :)
And for anyone starting up their garden, my tip: any plants that more than three neighbours are growing well are probably suited to your area and worth looking into growing. I tend to have "impossible dreams", but you have to adapt to conditions - like you say.
I'm not an indoor gardener. I'm terrible about watering on schedule.
re: any plants that more than three neighbours are growing well are probably suited to your area...
Yes! I have a neighbor that grows 'dusty miller'. I thought our area was too hot for them, but hers spreads like crazy.
I'll bet you have a beautiful garden. Everything seems so green in England. I'm watching a British tv show right now called Escape to the Country. I'm jealous of all that greenery. From what I've seen though, homes look a little cramped to what I'm used to here. --and very expensive!