Gardening is a hands-on hobby. If you are a gardener, chances are you want to do it all yourself. You want to get your hands in the soil, plant the seeds and watch over their growth, and then, finally, cut the flowers or harvest the vegetables when they are grown. If you used to garden and are just starting again after many years, here are some tips to get you excited about gardening again.
Know What You Grow
A quick glance at your seed packets will tell you which climate zones the plants will thrive in. You might also want to consult your local agricultural extension office. Ask them also about performing a soil sample and, when you get the results, ask what you need to add to the soil to get the PH balance right for your crops. Believe it or not, this can vary a lot. Another small tip is that,if you are growing berries, remember to plant them in a separate patch from your vegetable garden because berries need a more acidic soil, so adjust it accordingly.
Part of the fun of gardening is making a chart ahead of time and plotting your progress. The initial step of deciding what you want to grow is an exciting one so why not sit down with your family, and decide together which vegetables or flowers to grow. The more that everyone is involved, the more ready they will be to help with the planting and weeding.
If you decide to plant a flower garden, be sure to select a variety of colors. Make a low border, then plant successive rows behind with each one a little higher than the one in front. If you plant a low-growing flower behind a tall one, you will not be able to see it – simple, I know, but you would be amazed how often I see this simple mistake being made! Also, it may not get enough sun.
Consider the seasonal aspect of the plants you want to grow. Plant bulbs in the fall that will bloom in the spring. Plant gladiolas in the spring to bloom in summer, and so on. If you buy plants from the nursery, they will come with directions for time of planting, and the amount of sun needed.
Try to plant so that there is always something in bloom. Although most flowers bloom in spring, many bloom through the summer, and some such as chrysanthemums bloom in the fall. Echinacea will also bloom well into the fall.
If you are doing container gardening, be sure to get containers large enough for the plants to grow deep roots. Make sure the containers can drain, so water does not drown the roots. Remember that the small plant you put in the container may grow very large indeed. Transplant it to a larger container if it needs one, so it does not become root-bound. When you transplant, separate and free up the roots that have become pressed together.
You can extend your growing season buy starting your own seedlings indoors. Place the seeds in a seed starter in a sunny window. Put plastic over them at first so they retain water. Mist them daily. Once they sprout, separate each into its own container.
Once you get your hands back into the soil, the joy of gardening will come back to you. Remember what you did when you gardened before, and learn a little more each year. Soon you will be on your way to mastering the art of gardening.