Gardening is one of my all-time favorite summertime activities. I love planting seedlings, watching them grow, taking care of them, and eventually, harvesting the wonderful things they bring to the table (pun intended!). It is fun in every way to me – gardening draws me outside and into the warm sunshine and fresh air each morning. I love the excitement of seeing the plants each day and watching their progress.
When I was very young (so little I don’t remember it), my mother said I told her that gardening was magic. With dirt and sun, you can make food!
Each successful and delicious vegetable I get is a great achievement, and each less fortunate sprout (one that doesn’t, well, sprout) is an opportunity to learn and become a better gardener. I haven’t been gardening for many years and I only have a few seasons of produce under my belt, but I had so many great people teaching me and guiding me that I have picked up quite a few helpful and fun tips for a healthy and fruitful garden.
The first thing is that Lehman’s is the place to get everything you need. I get all my seeds, tools and even the containers in which to plant them, from Lehman’s. This summer I used two raised bed gardens, which I highly recommend. They keep my garden clean and contained and allow me to plant the garden on our deck, which keeps it safe from woodland creatures. I have discovered the rabbits and deer in our backyard will eat anything!
Lehman’s also carries composting soil and lots of organic plant care items. I really like the book, Starter Vegetable Gardens, which is also available at Lehman’s. If you have a chance to visit the retail store in Kidron, you can get lots of advice from the staff. They also have a garden planted on the patio, so you can work with the tools and see the fruits (or should I say “vegetables”) of the labor.
Here are some other tips that may seem normal, or may seem strange, but trust me that they all work!
1) For seasonal plants, it can be a pain to dig out new spots each year. That can be avoided by digging a hole and placing an empty pot inside it. This allows you to put your seasonal plants in their pots already, into the hole. They just remove the pot at the end of the season.
2) Take your eggshells and blend them up to feed your plants. The ground up shell are easy for the garden to absorb and are an effective way to compost.
3) For an easy, make-shift fence, use plastic forks stuck in the ground. They will deter some animals that see your garden as their own personal buffet.
4) Use an OLLA Pot (from Lehman’s) to keep your plants watered every day.
5) You can add Epsom salt or vegetable cooking water – both loaded with minerals – into your watering can.
6) Vining vegetables, like melons, squash and cucumbers can take up a lot of space, but not if you train them on a trellis. Not only does it save space, it looks really pretty.
7) Plants like garlic, chives, onions and chrysanthemums repel insects.
8) When a frost is predicted, better safe than sorry. Cover your plants with a sheet or newspaper, so the cold doesn’t kill them.
9) Sounds simple, but make sure you plant what you like to eat! Don’t plant lettuce if no one in your family enjoys salads.
10) Plant a small garden around a theme – this year I did a salsa garden. I only planted items needed for fresh salsa.
11) Starting seedlings off indoors in halved, hollowed out lemons not only looks cute, but the seedlings like the nutrition from the citrus fruit.
12) At the beginning of the gardening season, water your plants less often but more thoroughly. This gives the roots a chance to bury into the dirt.
Enjoy and happy gardening!