5 Tips for Starting Your New Garden
I would like to be able to tell you that gardening is easy all the time, but it's not. At least not in my experience. It really feels like labor, taking 3 steps forward only to be pushed two steps back. Right now, I'm in the middle of a battle with bugs that love to gnaw and chew on all of your hard work. Plus, I'm having to get creative on what I plant in since I'm working on a tight budget with no in-ground beds. Gardening is hard work, but it's so worth it. I wake up ever morning to check on my plants knowing that I'm able to grow something that will benefit my family and my Earth. I'm reminded of God's beauty when I see new leaves pop out practically overnight. And even those beneficial insects are amazing to see at work (like the Praying Mantis living underneath my Okra leaves). I started my garden about 2 months ago and I still wake up in anticipation of my next day in the dirt.
If you haven't already, read last week's SUSTAINABLE GARDENING blog post, "Why Starting a Garden During a Pandemic is a Good Idea". It highlights 10 reasons gardening can be beneficial to both you and the environment. Starting a garden right now can be the best decision you can make for your mind, body and soul, but only if you do it right. If you've been bit by the gardening bug, consider these 5 tips:
1. Start Small
Starting a garden requires a relatively decent plan. But if you've never gardened before, there's a temptation to start with lofty goals and unrealistic expectations. I started off thinking about all the tomatoes I would can and green beans I would freeze, but I quickly became frustrated with the process because I was putting too much pressure on myself. It wasn't until I scaled back and told myself to just focus on getting one thing to grow that the process became fun again (and a lot less stressful).
2. Decide What Kind of Garden You Want
Gardens come in many different shapes and sizes. Some people have herb gardens on their window sills. Others have flower gardens. Then, of course, you can always grow your own fruits and vegetables. Think about the space that you have to work in. Where will you be planting? How big is it? Will you be planting in-ground or in containers? Figuring out what you have to work with will help you decide what you can garden.
3. Make Garden Goals
Going into gardening with a goal in mind will prevent you from loading your plate with too much, too fast. Do you want to grow enough beans to last you for the winter? Make your own herbs? Attract butterflies and other pollinators? Make goals and keep them.
4. Search for the Correct Garden Info
Online gardening info is not one-sized fits all. There is a sea of websites about gardening that promises to help guide you, but unless you're following the advice of people that garden in your region and area, you might be following ill advice. A tomato plant in Pennsylvania does not grow the same way as a tomato plant in Texas. And plants in Dallas, Texas don't have the same planting cycle as plants in Houston, Texas. When searching online for gardening information specific to you, make sure to include that in your search query.
5. Have Fun
Don't make gardening just another thing to check off your to-do list. Have fun with it! Experiment with it! Most importantly, don't let it stress you out.
Are you starting a garden? Let us know what you're planting in the comments below. We would love to swap plant stories!