Have you been bitten by the gardening bug? Spring is the prime season for the gardening bug to bite, so beware.
Many new gardeners are bitten by the gardening bug when they buy their first home and suddenly have a yard and garden to maintain. Others are bitten by the bug when they see all the plants pop up for sale in the seasonal section of their local big box store. Or, they may succumb to the gardening bug later in the summer when another gardener lets them taste a ripe, juicy tomato from their garden.
Regardless of when it happens or how it happens, being bitten by the gardening bug should be a happy time for anyone. Unlike other bugs, we want to nurture the gardening bug and encourage it to grow in us.
Here are six tips to make sure the gardening bug makes you happy, whether you are a new gardener or an experienced gardener.
1 Grow the Plants You Love
Many gardeners inherit a garden filled with flowers or plants that don’t appeal to them. Or perhaps they bought what was on sale at the garden center, even though those plants weren’t what they really wanted. A garden is an investment of both time and money. Why not use the time and money to grow the plants you love? You’ll be more pleased with the results and more likely to spend time in the garden you’ve worked so hard to create.
2 Buy Good Gardening Tools
If the head of the rake falls off every time you use it to smooth out some mulch, how does that make gardening fun? If your trowel bends the first time you hit a rock with it, you may be tempted to give up gardening. If the hose leaks or the pruners don’t cut… well, you get the idea. Buy good tools, as good as your budget allows. This ensures your tools are helping you garden instead of stopping you from gardening.
3 Respect Mother Nature
Respect for Mother Nature starts with growing plants suited to your climate and your garden location. Learn what your USDA hardiness zone is and then buy plants labeled to grow in your zone. Learn where the sun and shade are in your garden, and plant sun-loving plants where they will get enough sun and shade loving plants where they won’t burn in the sun. Finally, abstain from the use of pesticides, especially if your kids or pets will be playing in the garden, you are growing vegetables, or you are trying to attract birds, butterflies, and other pollinators to your garden.
4 Size Your Garden for the Resources You Have
If your garden seems to overwhelm you and consumes all your free time, it may be bigger than you can manage. Or, maybe you feel like all your extra money goes into the upkeep of your garden. If this describes how you feel about your garden, consider downsizing it to a size you feel comfortable maintaining. You’ll be much more satisfied with a smaller garden well-tended than a larger garden growing out of control.
5 Learn About Gardening
Every gardener’s comfort level in the garden increases with each season as they learn what works and what doesn’t work in their garden. But learning from experience from season to season is a slow process. Check out gardening books and magazines at the local library, but remember the gardens pictured in many of these were staged to look their very best.
Ask if your local garden center offers free classes. Many will host seminars and other events to teach gardening to eager customers. And don’t forget to talk to other gardeners; ask questions and watch them work in their gardens. They’ll be happy to help because they know one other tip…
6 Share Your Garden with Others
Don’t forget to open up your garden gate and let other people come in and see your garden. Walk with them through the garden and see what they see. They’ll point out the beautiful blooms and never notice the weeds. Take them to your vegetable garden and let them taste your home grown tomatoes.
Who knows, maybe with one bite of your ripe, juicy, home grown tomato, someone else will be bitten by the gardening bug and be inspired to plant their own garden.
Carol Michel is an avid gardener with a degree in horticulture. She was recently awarded a “2014 Garden Writers Association Silver Award of Achievement for eNewsletter Articles.” Contact – Website – Facebook – Twitter – LinkedIn
Photo Credit – amenic181