Gardening 2017

One of our biggest dreams when we were house hunting was to have sufficient space for a garden. And now that we have that space, we are reading lots of gardening books and dreaming big. So today I’m passing along some of the wisdom we’ve gleaned from books and other resources we’ve come across. And I love simple, so I’m only going to share 3 simple beginner’s tips:

1 – Know your region.

Not every type of plant can grow just anywhere, so it’s important to know which plants can handle the temperatures and weather your particular region receives in a growing season. According to the Plant Hardiness Zone Map we live in Zone 6/6a so growing more tropical plants would be highly disappointing here. Instead, cold-hardy plants or plants with shorter growing seasons are what we would be the smarter pick.

2 – Study the light.

Unless you have zero trees on your property, this step is super important because it allows you to see where light travels. Last summer I took note of where the sunniest locations in our yard were in a given day. Each hour I noted where the sun was shining. We live in a park-like neighborhood (lots of mature trees), and this exercise allowed me to locate the best location for our garden without having to take out trees.

3 – Start small (and easy).

Some great wisdom was shared with us … in our excitement don’t plant too much (to start, at least). We have much to learn and too many new things at once is a recipe for burnout and failure. So our plan for 2017 is to

1) start a compost bin
Compost is the BEST thing for your garden and we are willing to put off using our raised beds one more year so that we can utilize nature’s gold.
2) build a raised garden bed/window box
Building our raised garden beds now and not filling them will allow us to place them where we think they will soak up the most sunlight, but if we need to tweak and shift them a tad it will be much easier with them empty.
3) plant our 3-4 most favorite foods in containers.
Peas, sweet potatoes, carrots and a dwarf blueberry bush are topping our list for now.

Do you garden? What is your best garden advice for beginners?

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2 thoughts on “Gardening 2017

  1. carolee says:

    Those are all good points to consider. I KNOW I wouldn’t have your restraint in allowing the raised beds to remain empty. I’d pick a spot you know is sunny, and grow crops in at least one bed this year. You’ll learn so much, and if you would have to move it (altho if it is in a sunny spot there should be a number of crops that would be happy there) so you have to move it! You look young enough to do that! One more thing I would add….you mention lots of trees. Be aware that tree roots cover the area underground that the canopy covers overhead. If there are maple trees, they are surface rooters, and will send greedy roots right into your beautiful soil inside your raised bed. I speak from experience…in two years I couldn’t even get a shovel into my soil! And that was through 2 layers of landscape cloth (I thought I was being so smart and would prevent the maple root instrusion…silly me!) Oaks root more like a carrot, so not much of a problem. So, find out what trees your have. Best of luck!

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