When I was a kid, my parents struggled to have a garden in our yard, but it was too shady to produce vegetables. They eventually rented a plot at a community garden, and seemed to enjoy it.
I learned a little about gardening from them, and some from my father-in-law, who had a very large garden to help feed his nine children. His daughter has been my best source for gardening information.
People who are serious about gardening take classes and become master gardeners, but so far that doesn’t appeal to me. If things don’t grow now, I can just shrug and say, “Oh well.” If I actually had proper training, there would be no excuse. I know that’s flawed reasoning, by the way.
I do have a few tips to share with anyone who has a garden, is thinking of having one, or just enjoys hearing about other people’s struggles.
- If someone is a little too quick to offer you plants from their garden, be suspicious. If they have enough to give away, the plant probably reproduces faster than bunnies.
- The mint family is huge, with over 7,000 types, including a lot of herbs we use in the kitchen. That being said, spearmint, lemon balm, and my lawn nemesis, Creeping Charlie, spread like crazy. Once you plant mint, be ready to treat it as a weed.
- There’s a really cool looking succulent plant named purslane. It is edible, but eat fast, because it grows everywhere, and once you have it, you need to pull them out for years to come.
- If you are planting or transplanting plants just before a big rainstorm, water them anyway, because the fact that you want it to rain means that it will not.
- Certain plants don’t get along with each other. Potatoes and tomatoes are in the same family (nightshade) but won’t grow well if they are too close. There are other do’s and don’ts of plant placement.
- The best way to avoid having numerous 20 pound zucchini plants left over is to not plant them in the first place.
- Embrace the wind. There isn’t enough “Deet” to withstand a July assault of mosquitoes on a still day.
- As ironic as it may sound, don’t spend so much time working on your garden that you forget to stop and smell the roses.