If you’re new to gardening you might have some great idea of what gardening is in your head. You’re thinking about starting a garden because you saw your neighbor’s garden and just fell in love with all those beautiful flowers and wished you could pick one every day. You have this idea in your head that gardening is glamorous because you see those picture-perfect gardening couples on the cover of a magazine.
But there are some cold hard truths about gardening that you should know and accept with all your heart if you wish to become a true-bloodied gardening aficionado. Gardening isn’t just about planting a seed and watching it grow. It is a process of nature as well as your nurturing, and there could be lots of frustrations as you progress along ... but a lot of triumphs and love as well.
This list is a combination of nature and environmental factors that you just have to accept and get on with your gardening.
Gardening isn’t something you do for a very limited time. It is time-consuming. You don’t expect a seedling to grow into a bush overnight. Some plants will take seasons to be in full bloom. There will be weeds, plants that just won't grow, amendments to the soil, and watering. You can’t brag about your green thumb until you have seen your love and care come to fruition. And so many things can happen in between sowing and reaping time.
Of course, the time and attention a garden takes is the #1 reason why people garden in the first place! It is the zen and contemplation, the hours in the outdoors and listening to nature that has us garden in the first place.
Okay, so before you have your green thumb, it will be brown for a while. Compost and organic fertilizers have incorporated the greatest plant booster nature has ever given us – poop and rotted things. Fortunately, finished compost and composted manure smells like rich, organic soil, so think about how happy your plants are going to be!
Here's an article on how to use that compost.
Yes, everything will die. To have that "wow" factor in your garden means knowing the life cycle of certain plants, and when they bloom and when to prune and deadhead. You can choose plants that bloom and fade at different times, so while one flower fades away, another one next to it is just starting its bloom. That way, your garden will be showy all the time.
When it comes to gardening, you definitely need some sort of plan. Not something so complex that you need spreadsheets (though I know some gardeners that do this), but even just a quick drawing of your yard is enough. Then, simply write in where colors and plant heights will go, and visualize how everything will look. Will one color clash with another? Will one plant be taller than the one behind it?
With a basic plan, you won’t have to give away plants that at the last minute you decided you didn’t want. Your garden will look more like those you see on tv and in magazines.
For vegetable gardens, buy different types of (for instance) tomatoes, so they will ripen at different times and you won't end up with nothing, then a sudden, massive bounty you won't know what to do with ... though lots and lots of salsa comes to mind!
Of course, if you end up with an unhappy garden, there's always next year!
Pests and diseases are always ready to pounce on your plants. It’s a scary thought because no gardener would want to see pests creating apocalypse-like trouble in their garden.
But it’s possible to keep them away, with the right pesticides, both organic and conventional (we of course prefer organic techniques.)
Remember, most bugs in your garden are helpful to your plants, and many are predators that eat the pests. Here's a great guide on identifying beneficial insects for your garden. You definitely want to encourage keeping them around your yard.
Gardening is an activity that require you to be on the ground and using your hands to till the soil. It would be very important to get yourself decent tools and equipment like a shovel, trowel, and knee pads or a kneeling pad to protect your knees.
Keep another set for those neighbors who are likely to borrow tools every now and then, so you still have your own when they have forgotten to return them. (Not speaking from experience, of course ... well, maybe!)
Cate’s Garden has a wide variety of quality gardening tools and equipment for composting, your soil and pruning. Visit the online shop now.
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