Wednesday, June 6, 2012

[ Gardening 101 : From a Non-Expert ]

I’ve learned a number of things from my mother. Things all women should know. Like how to make people feel at ease in your home. Like how to cook for a whole lot of people. I learned other basic things like how to do laundry, how to love a man or how to follow Jesus. Another thing I learned from her was her love for the outdoors. This includes all things sunshine, exploring and last but not least- gardening.

We moved a lot as I was growing up. One of the last houses I lived in with my parents before I got married had beautiful gardens. Incredible varieties of flowers grew around the house, around the playhouse, in the yard- basically, our yard was like a park. To me, it was the dream yard. Now, as I have my own house and yard, I keep dreaming of that one yard. The one where my mum spent hours weeding to keep it from being choked out by weeds. The one where my mum would water daily so that the flowers would grow to incredible sizes and fullness. Yup, that’s what I dream of. Yet, I’m on a budget and there’s a lot work to be done before a garden of that caliber can be reached. 

So, what am I doing now? I’ve never read a book on gardening, the very thought makes me yawn. I don’t know anything about biology and science was never my strong point in school. Yet as I am laying out my gardens and planning ahead for the sunny summer months, I’ve learned a couple things over the past two years of having our own beautiful farmhouse. 

  1. You need to know where the sun is. Throughout the day, different areas of your garden will get varying degrees of sunshine. A plant that needs part shade should not be getting 8+ hours of hot sunshine. PLUS if there is an area of the garden that gets a lot of sunshine, the ground will also probably be dryer so a plant that needs to be kept nicely watered should get a little extra to drink.
  2. When you buy a plant, read the little plastic card that comes with it. If it says part shade or 4 hours of sun- it actually means it. I’ve made the mistake thinking that if I watered the plant enough or put it in well-draining soil, it might survive. Wrong, it died.
  3. Buy a sprinkler and only water in the morning or evening. I always thought that watering in the afternoon was the perfect time. I mean, it was always the hottest time of the day, my plants were looking thirsty from the sun beating down on them- it would be the perfect time, right? Wrong again. If you water during the hottest part of the day, two things happen: first, a lot of the water evaporates before it even hits the plant or as it hits the ground. Meaning you just waste water. Second, the water that does it hit the ground or the plant is going to dry up so quickly, your watering will be pretty a futile effort. So, if you water when it’s hot, you’ll waste your water and your poor plants will still be thirsty.
  4. Pull weeds regularly. If you do it every so often and keep fairly regular, it will make gardening not too bad. I hate pulling weeds. It seems like every time I turn my back, the weeds are already three inches tall and rearing their ugly little heads.
Obviously, a lot more goes into gardening. It takes time to learn what grows well. What you’ll kill every time you plant them. And your personal favorites. 
What do you do to keep your garden growing?
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