We all have a story to tell. It’s true. But what will you do with yours? Here at Gardening Know How we tend to share our personal stories with others whenever we can – mostly when it can help benefit other gardeners. I asked some of my coworkers to share a few tips for growing gardens gleaned from their own experiences. Here’s some of our garden advice and tips to live by.
Use what you have and recycle when you can
It’s difficult for me to narrow my list of tips to live by when it comes to gardening. But what seems to stand out most from my experiences is that you don’t need to spend tons of money on gardening, though you easily could. Oftentimes, things that are just laying around can be used for containers, beds, mulch, etc. – which then leaves more cash for plants (unless you start your own). Use what have and recycle (or upcycle) when you can.
Remember that patience is a virtue
Bonnie has moved around a lot lately, which means having to start over in the garden wherever she goes. “I am on my 5th landscape. Everyone has benefitted from lasagna gardening. It is how I start all my beds and berms. I have to be patient and wait to plant in them, but the technique yields amazing worm-filled soil. Plus, it is how I recycle my moving boxes and newspaper.”
Never give up
Just as patience with gardening is important, so too is not giving up. And there will be times when your patience and faith are tested. Liz reminisced about an incident that happened in her own garden. “One year I forgot about my carrots until it was too late and they got buried under the snow. During a mild spell in February, however, they started sprouting new greens and I remembered them. I dug them all up and, though some of them had split, a lot of them were delicious. The moral of the story: never give up on root vegetables!”
Mary Ellen shared a similar story on how both patience and perseverance in the garden are often a requirement. “I revived some dying peonies…transplanted them, they died, came back next year with no flowers, came back the next year with tons of flowers.” Just hang in there. It all works out in the end.
Find something you like and stick with it
Heather believes in trying new things, but once you find something that you like and works well, stick with it. “I now have several keyhole garden style beds that I grow my vegetables in. I originally built one to test the style of garden bed for a GKH article, but after I tried the one, I loved it so much that I converted all my vegetable beds into keyhole gardens. They help deter critters and make composting a cinch.”
Don’t plant willy-nilly either. Stacey added, “I used to plant without a thought-out design or worry about plant maturity sizes. I have since been more careful about what I buy and where it is going into the garden. I prefer mass plantings. This also helps with my frugal sensibility, as my plants increase their spread. If something is working, I grow more of it!”
Learn about your plants’ needs and care
Don’t kill your plants with kindness. This is garden advice I need to practice more. And speaking of”¦Tyler says, “I have learned that, sometimes, less is more! It is easy to over care for a plant and love it to death. Sometimes, you have to let it show you what it needs before you give it something.” Good to know.
Learning about the care of your plants is vital to avoid “over caring” for them, or neglecting their needs. Becca noted the importance of pest control too. “Learn early on how to check and treat pests to save yourself a lot of future problems. Always seclude new plants for the first few days after purchase and watch for signs of pests and disease. While it’s not the most fun part of gardening, it is sometimes the most important.”
Use the garden to revitalize
Gardens are good for you.The one thing most people don’t realize starting out is just how beneficial it is to garden – both physically and mentally. In fact, a number of gardeners find them to be places of healing, and Amy can attest to that. About ten years ago, she was seriously ill. “I could barely rouse myself from my bed except for treatment every morning. Once I was done with treatment, I came home and wanted to crawl right back into bed, but the dog needed to go out.”
She goes on to say, “While I was out with the dog, I noticed some weeding needed to be done so while she did her thing, I tended to the weeds. From there my attention wandered to flowers that required deadheading and so on”¦ not only did the dog need my attention, but also the garden. Every day I continued to putter as best I could. This not only focused my mind but relaxed me during a stressful period and, in the end, I think, contributed to my full recovery.” You see, it always works out in the end.
We don’t know it all, but we all know something. With gardening, it’s about learning experiences, sticking to what works, and letting faith carry you through when it doesn’t. Everyone has a story, and many of them are started in the garden. In fact, that’s where most tips for growing gardens are born. What’s your story?