It is almost that time of year again. When we put on a hat and gardening gloves, we go out to bask in the sun and play in the ground. Gardening has always been an interesting piece of my life, as a child I cried if I had dirty hands and gloves were not my favorite fashion accessory. So when I moved to Erie I knew that I had to learn to overcome the phobia of dirt and grow all the beautiful flowers and produce what I dreamed I could do. So I came up with some tips that I learned through trial and error and some education.
The 8 best gardening tips:
1. Plan ahead. Determine how much space you have and where it is located, preferably sunny and free from any disturbance as a child or pet. Plan what you want to plant, draw an image to help you understand where things will go and how. Don’t forget to include the different sowing stages in early spring, late spring, early summer, late summer and autumn.
2. When planning, think about quality, not quantity. This was the most difficult lesson for me to learn. My first year, although I had planned the space, I didn’t know how much each plant would produce. As a result, I had more tomatoes than I could eat or give away and not enough of some of the other items, such as cucumbers because the quality of the plants was not as good as they could have been. Quality plants may be a little more expensive but they will provide quality products.
3. Plant complementary plants to help your garden be the best. This can be to help each plant grow better or perhaps to repel pests. We all have complementary friends, so your plants should too!
4. Think outside the box! Not all gardens need to be in perfect rows. If you are short of space, think about taking it vertically or use some different types of containers and the results will amaze you.
5. Work with your soil. Poor soil quality will damage your efforts. There are many things you can do to help, but the first step should be testing a soil pH. The kits are available online or even in your home goods store.
6. Recycle waste to help give your garden a little miraculous encouragement. Composting is an excellent way to go. In my experience composting can be complicated or as simple as you do. I think if something is simple you are more likely to do it, so start from there and then progress if you want. If composting isn’t your thing, you can always do just a few things like adding coffee grounds and egg shells. Both have great nutritional properties and deterrence for parasites.
7. Pest … Well, as a city girl, one of the hardest things for me was to treat parasites. My husband jokes that we spend a lot of time and effort in making parasites disappear for me. However, in gardening there are good pests that are certainly in demand! So my advice is to provide your garden with good and useful pests such as ladybugs, wigs and ground beetles that will feast on aphids, snails and mites that make a garden sad. If you find a praying mantis in your garden, it will also help you keep those annoying pests away. Finally, don’t forget those big earthworms to mix the soil. Anyway the lesson has learned for me that not all bugs are bad!
8. Have fun !!! The most important advice about gardening. Even if you can’t follow any of the other suggestions mentioned, just go out and do it! The health benefits go far beyond that great flower show or produce the harvest! Gardening is an excellent form of physical activity, it improves mood and helps reduce stress. It is also a great hobby to do with children.
by Brandy L Unruh