A Gardening Guide for Beginners and Masters
Article by Arleen M. Kaptur
Gardening is the word of the day. It could be because of the economy, but mostly it is because people realize that their food supply is not what they would like it to be – pure, and wholesome. Gardening is consumers telling the large chemical companies – no thanks.
If you start with a blueprint for your garden, when it is time to take shovel to earth, you will be ready. Whatever your “plot” ofgarden might be, if you work with what you have you will have success. Take into account what your property’s natural beauty and areas are. You want to combine two very important aspects of gardening – beauty for the soul and utility for the body. If you have areas of “explosive” color and activity, then you can balance it with some quiet areas of solitude and peace.
A garden journal is a time saver and a future saver. It can be anything as simple as a shoe box with a tablet. Save your seed packets so that what works can be duplicated with the actual name of the plant you enjoyed so much, as well as the company or store where you purchased it. Write the dates that you planted and see if maybe it was too early because frost might have nipped some of your seedlings. Your box of plans, ideas, possibilities and hopes is a natural treasure and a gold mine. You can expand from what you have done, or scale back because many time was an issue with some work extensive plants. This is your primer to edit, delete, and add to. It is invaluable and a money saver. If something just did not work well in your area, then you don’t want to spend your money on similar plants that probably won’t do as well either.
Have assortment in mind as you select seeds and plants. It saves you from boredom when summer’s heat isn’t kind when you have to weed and feed. Diversity also keeps your garden safer from pests and diseases. It is also a safeguard – one very important word of advice. If you enjoy hot peppers, do not plant them near your bell peppers. Bees don’t really know the difference and your everyday bell peppers will be a trip into spice land. Believe me this is not something you want to surprise your dinner menu with.
If you live where winter comes with a vengence, don’t forget to plant evergreens around your garden area. They will protect your plot from winter’s wind and in the spring, your ground will be ready to go with a few touches. If winter has its way, and there is not enough snow cover, your little garden will look like a relative of the desert areas you see in movies.
Think “specialty” gardens that can be incorporated into your overall plans. If you have small children, then you might want a red wagon type garden of fast growing plants that a child can enjoy and find success with. Take any old red wagon with wheels and a handle for moving around. Drill some holes in the bottom for drainage and fill with good dirt. Plant cherry tomatoes, a few string beans, maybe a cucumber plant, and strawberries. These can delight your child from blossom to fruit and it will prove a true gardening experience. If your area is tight, then you can move your red wagon garden to more suitable spots or even bring it on a patio or other area.
Try a salad garden raised bed around your yard. In this specialty garden, plant a tomato plant or two, some varied lettuce seeds, as well as carrots and some herbs. Then when dinner time comes around, you can get instant salad mix and fresh is just the beginning of this meal time wonder.
In your “quiet” garden, try lavender, and some tea roses for scent and beauty. Pansies with their tiny faces are a joy to behold when you just want to sit and rest. There are plants just made to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. These will add quality to your “quiet” garden as you marvel at the beauty of nature and its wonder. Reading in this area is a summer time luxury.
Teen agers might enjoy a “pizza” garden. Here is where you grow your heirloom tomatoes with their vibrant flavor and diversity of color. Add oregano, thyme, and some parsley to add to your meat toppings. If your teens love onions, garlic, and even green peppers on their pizza, add a few of these plants. Even teenagers will enjoy “picking” up their pizza ingredients.
Whatever your family enjoys and finds fun eating, you can incorporate it into small garden plots. The first rule of gardening – enjoy it and diversity. While fruits and vegetables are the main course of any garden, don’t forget the flowers and decorative leaves for that dinner table centerpiece. In the fall, if you planned ahead and had your Halloween Garden in place, you can imagine the enjoyment of not ghosts and goblins but jack-o-lanterns right there at your finger tips, not to mention assorted gourds and squashes. There are even glow in the dark white pumpkins that shimmer in the moonlight. Gardening is fun, profitable, and a happy event. Enjoy. Arleen M. Kaptur April, 2009
About the Author
Arleen M. Kaptur has written numerous articles for magazines and the internet. http://arleenswriting.blogspot.com/http://arleensgarden.blogspot.com/
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