In today’s time of financial concerns and the rising cost of food, it can seem like a great idea to start growing your own food. And it is, but as with most projects, there are a few things that you should know before you dive in head first and spend a lot of money unnecessarily.
1. No matter how tempting it might be to start out big, it’s usually better to start out smaller, with just a few things. This allows you to get a “feel” for gardening and to make sure that your passion for gardening is here to stay.
2. Research what you plan to grow. This may sound silly, but you need to know which plants do well with tons of sunlight and lots of water, as well as which ones burn easily and only do well with limited amounts of water. Plan, plan and plan some more!
3. You need to know your soil. This means you may need to have some of your soil analyzed at a garden center to see if it will be able to support new plant life. If it’s not, you may need to do some container gardening or use a raised garden bed.
4. It’s not considered lazy for a gardener to transplant existing plants. It’s only slightly more expensive than a package of seeds. You’ll have a better chance of them taking hold, especially for someone new to growing.
5. Just as some people and some pets take vitamins, some soil becomes healthier when supplemented by extra minerals. This could be as little as mixing some leaves in with the soil or by buying some compost from a garden supply store and adding it ( mixing well) into the soil.
6. Either have a really long hose or put your garden near a faucet. You will spend a considerable amount of your time watering your garden, and it will seem ten times longer if you are using a garden pitcher to do so.
7. Even the most seasoned gardener will have some crops fail. It’s not uncommon and sometimes we don’t know why.
8. That certain items only do well in certain seasons and temperatures. In order to be successful, you’ll need to plant everything in its time.
9. That some items will not do well sharing soil with other items. This is another reminder to plan!
10. Don’t over-water, even if you’re trying to compensate for a heatwave. Plants can drown too.
11. That some home-owner’s associations and even some towns limit what you can grow, how much you can grow and where you can grow. Always check with the appropriate offices to make sure you can garden in your front yard if you want to, and to confirm other rules.
12. If growing flowers or certain herbs, you will need to decide whether you want to be able to change what grows each year, or if you want it to remain the same. Perennials are along-term kind of flower, and annuals last one year. Some herbs grow so quickly they could seem to take over your yard in no time.
13. In general, soil is comprised of 45% minerals, 25% each of air and water, and the remaining 5% is organic matter.
14. If you see earthworms in your garden, you should be happy. Their digestive systems can process tons of soil in a year, which improves the quality of the soil.
15. The cheapest way to eat organic is to grow it yourself.
16. The roots of a plant can grow up to half an inch a day, in the search for water.
17. In just one full acre of grassed pasture, there might be a million earthworms.
18. Gardening gloves are a great idea, but don’t wear the leather ones. In some cases, they may leave residue in the soil that will have a negative impact on your crops.
19. If you’re growing flowers, you’ll want to remove dead leaves or flowers. Be careful, though, not to get the stem, because it may not grow back.
20. There are six types of soil: sand, loam, clay, silt, peat and chalk.
21. Inadequate drainage needs to be addressed ASAP, because it could damage your crops quickly.
22. In only one acre of grassed pasture, there could be a million earthworms.
23. Gardening is a great way to get kids interested in science.
24. The right (or wrong) fertilizer can make an enormous difference.
25. There will always be something you can learn about gardening.
It’s also important to remember that almost every kind of soil can grow something, so no matter where you are, you should be able to grow something. Gardening is a joy and a pleasure once you know what you’re doing.