The garden. What a beautiful, wondrous place! It has been a TON of work - more than I had anticipated, but so so so worth it. I can't explain the feeling that I get everytime I walk out there; a combination of wonder and anxiety. Weeds grow at an alarming rate, but then so do vegetables. I have been too busy to go up there for a couple of days at a time and what I'd left as a tiny little growth has exploded into something ridiculously large. The following is a list of tips about growing your own food for
first time gardeners:
- Gardening, although A LOT of work, is deeply rewarding
- Plant many seeds but space them apart when they start growing - 6 carrots cannot grow out of the same space
- Don't plant everything at the same time, especially the greens
- Don't plant too much - you can't possibly eat everything!
- Give your plants enough space - they need it to grow
- Fertilize before you plant - fresh fertilizer will burn leaves and sometimes kill the plant altogether
- Don't make your garden too big. It is a lot of work and can be overwhelming to a newbie gardener
- Don't plant too soon - especially in our northern climate, the risk of frost is too high
- Don't plant too late - plants need all the time they can get to grow
- Don't cheap out on soil - if your soil is weak and low in nutrients, pay the extra money for fertilizers (horse manure compost is like gold around here!)
- Don't let the weeds run wild! This is really, really hard to do in your first year, especially if the garden is freshly dug. Seeds lay dormant for a really long time, so be prepared to be bombarded by them constantly.
- Keep an eye on the bugs.They can do a lot of damage, but the bulk of the damage can be avoided if you nip it in the bud early.
- Make sure you have enough sun and protection from the wind
- Stakes! Stakes! Stakes! If I had known how many stakes I was going to need I wouldn't have considered gardening a cheap endeavor. That being said, once you have them you always have them.
My garden has produced an abundance of food this year - more than I could ever hope to eat myself - and it just keeps coming! I have a variety of mixed greens, romaine, baby bok choy, arugula, 3 different types of carrots, beets, radishes, squash, eggplant, patty pan squash, pickles, cucumbers, pie pumpkins, red and rainbow chard, spinach, snap peas, basil, peppers, and 5 varieties of tomatoes!!! Everything produced beyond my expectations except the parsnips. For whatever reason, I didn't get one. Or maybe I over-zealously weeded them out. No matter how much work has been involved, the entire process has been so enjoyable and rewarding that I have nothing to complain about - and the food is amazing! Hope the tips have helped a bit.
If anyone else has any tips, please post them here.