If you are a beginner, you’ll soon learn that Gardening is both an art and science….and a bit of luck. You start by reading books and the backs of seed packets. You ask other gardeners and talk to strangers at the garden center. But mostly you observe. You watch what others are doing. You watch the plants in your garden. You pay attention to the weather and birds and insects and raccoons. And best of all, no matter what you know, or how long you’ve gardened, there is always something new to learn. It doesn’t matter either if you don’t have enough space outside to do gardening. You can easily just get something like these LED grow lights and do some gardening inside, or you could go see if there is a community garden center that you could partake in. There are loads of options.
The Very Basics you Need:
Light. Gardens do better in sun. You can get by with partial shade but if you want tomatoes and beans, you need at least six hours of sun a day. More preferably.
Soil. Roots need soil and air. If you have soil that needs a pickaxe to dig a hole, you need to add “amendments” like compost or composted manure, to lighten the soil. It doesn’t need to be fluffy like potting soil…but it needs to have enough air to receive water and to drain.
Water. With drought at record levels all over the country last year, it’s easy to understand that plants need water. When you’re starting seeds, the soil needs to be moist on the surface till the seeds germinate. Later, the soil needs to be moist an inch down when you put your finger in the soil. In the beginning, when plants are young, you might need to water every day. You have to keep checking. There’s a solution to this problem, if you have a look into the Powerblanket sizing chart and follow up by purchasing the recommended size, this will allow you to have a temperature controlled bucket which will preserve the water supply throughout summer.
Space. Plants need space both above and beneath the ground. Not too much space because they do like growing in groups and communities. But read your seed packet and be sure to give your plants at least a few inches of space.
Time. Gardening is a four-dimensional event. It changes dramatically over time. You need enough time for the plants to grow to full term. Lettuce is ready to eat in a few weeks. Winter squash can take 100 days. As the weather changes, what the plant needs changes, so you have to keep adapting. You also have to keep track of time and can’t let a week or two pass without checking on your garden.
Love. Gardens that children grow will often thrive even though the kids don’t do everything right. That’s the love factor. I look back at my first gardens and can’t believe I managed to get anything to eat. But I loved the process. I loved playing in the dirt and watching seeds germinate. I loved the idea of the garden even when I forgot to go out to water. I loved the red tomatoes in the sun. And the plants forgave my shortcomings and grew in that atmosphere of love.
Watch, Learn and Enjoy.
Or as we like to say at BBBSeed: Grow. Enjoy. Share.
‘Organic Gardening’ magazine is a great resource. Years of articles are online. You can start with their basic how to garden. http://tinyurl.com/bhlqfcy
Square-foot Gardening was most helpful to me when I started learning. Gardening seemed like such a big project…but I could do 4 feet x 4 feet without feeling overwhelmed. http://www.squarefootgardening.org/
Gardening is very different in an arid climate like Colorado compared to humid places like Louisiana or Oregon. Check with your local Cooperative Extension (every state has an extension service from its ag university.)
Gardening for newcomers to Colorado is here: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/garden/07220.html