Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Garden lessons

It's that time of the year again!
It's time to plant the garden. This is our third or fourth year since we have had a garden and I have learned some lessons through the years that I want to share.

1. A garden is trial and error.  Basically there is no right or wrong way to do it. You just have to try different things. Sometimes things flourish. And sometimes they don't. For instance, I have never had luck with melons. For some reason they just flop. But, I have great luck with broccoli and peppers. I love to try different things each year and switch it up. If it doesn't work - oh well. I try something else the next time. Don't be afraid of garden failure.

2. If you plant from seed - just do it right in the ground or the raised beds. There is no need to start the little seedlings indoors. I tried this for 2 years before I realized that I was wasting my time. The little darlings would flourish really well inside. Then as soon as it was time to transfer them to the outdoors, they all died. Finally it dawned on me to just start them outside and skip the inside step. And they did so much better.

3. Use a raised bed. If your ground has "issues" - then I would just use the raised beds. Underneath our green grass, our ground is all rock. Not ideal for planting. So we had no choice but to get beds and put our own soil in them and then plant. We have never looked back. We keep adding new beds each year and it is so easy. Plus it keeps things nice and contained - just the way I like it!

4. Learn the cycles. Some plants will come early. Some will come later. Use that to your advantage. For instance, I know that snow peas and beans like the cold nights. So I planted those seeds about a week ago. However, the snow peas don't last all summer. So once they are done, then I plant something else in its place. This gives me a variety of veggies all summer long.

5. It's okay if you don't start things from seed. The first year we planted our garden, we bought all the plants. I was too new at the garden thing and I didn't even want to attempt to try to start things from seed. So we bought the plants and kind of got a head start. It gave me the confidence boost I needed to eventually move to seed. There are still a few things I might buy as plants. But for the most part, everything in my garden will be from organic seeds.

6. Use compost. Okay. I don't have much to say on this because we still don't compost. But, it is part of the master plan to start doing it. In fact, we may start that this year! (See--there is always something new to learn!)

7. Share your veggies. Once your garden gets going - you will be amazed at the abundance of veggies you have. After you make zucchini bread for the 500th time, you will be begging your neighbors and friends to take the veggies off your hands!

8. Enjoy. Summer is my favorite time to make fresh salads. My veggie intake definitely increases because there is nothing better than fresh veggies that I planted. So - enjoy the fruits of your labor and relish in the fact that you just planted your own food. It's a great feeling.

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