GKH Staff Secrets: Garden Advice And Tips To Live By


We all have a story to tell. It’s true. But what will
you do with yours? Here at Gardening Know How we tend to share
our personal stories with others whenever we can – mostly when it can help
benefit other gardeners. I asked some of my coworkers to share a few tips for
growing gardens gleaned from their own experiences. Here’s some of our garden
advice and tips to live by.

Use what you have and recycle when you can

It’s difficult for me to narrow my list of tips to
live by when it comes to gardening. But what seems to stand out most from my
experiences is that you don’t need to spend tons of money on gardening, though
you easily could. Oftentimes, things that are just laying around can be used for
containers, beds, mulch, etc. – which then leaves more cash for plants (unless
you start your own). Use what have and recycle (or upcycle) when you can.

Remember that patience is a virtue

Bonnie has moved around a lot lately, which means
having to start over in the garden wherever she goes. “I am on my 5th
landscape. Everyone has benefitted from lasagna gardening. It is how I
start all my beds and berms. I have to be patient and wait to plant in them,
but the technique yields amazing worm-filled soil. Plus, it is how I recycle my
moving boxes and newspaper.”

Never give up

Just as patience with gardening is important, so too
is not giving up. And there will be times when your patience and faith are
tested. Liz reminisced about an incident that happened in her own garden. “One
year I forgot about my carrots until it was too
late and they got buried under the snow. During a mild spell in February,
however, they started sprouting new greens and I remembered them. I dug them
all up and, though some of them had split, a lot of them were delicious. The
moral of the story: never give up on root vegetables!”

Mary Ellen shared a similar story on how both patience
and perseverance in the garden are often a requirement. “I revived some dying peonies…transplanted
them, they died, came back next year with no flowers, came back the next year
with tons of flowers.” Just hang in there. It all works out in the end.

Find something you like and stick with it

Heather believes in trying new things, but once you
find something that you like and works well, stick with it. “I now have several
keyhole garden
style beds

that I grow my vegetables in. I originally built one to test the style of
garden bed for a GKH article, but after I tried the one, I loved it so much
that I converted all my vegetable beds into keyhole gardens. They help deter
critters and make composting a cinch.”

Don’t plant willy-nilly either. Stacey added, “I used
to plant without a thought-out design or worry about plant maturity sizes. I
have since been more careful about what I buy and where it is going into the
garden. I prefer mass plantings. This also helps
with my frugal sensibility, as my plants increase their spread. If something is
working, I grow more of it!”

Learn about your plants’ needs and care

Don’t kill your plants with kindness. This is garden
advice I need to practice more. And speaking of…Tyler says, “I have learned
that, sometimes, less is more! It is easy to over care for a plant and love it
to death. Sometimes, you have to let it show you what it needs before you give
it something.” Good to know.

Learning about the care of your plants is vital to
avoid “over caring” for them, or neglecting their needs. Becca noted the
importance of pest control too. “Learn early on how to check and treat pests to
save yourself a lot of future problems. Always seclude new plants for the first few
days after purchase and watch for signs of pests and disease. While it’s not
the most fun part of gardening, it is sometimes the most important.”

Use the garden to revitalize

Gardens are good
for you
.The one thing most people don’t realize starting out is just how beneficial
it is to garden – both physically and mentally. In fact, a number of gardeners
find them to be places of healing, and Amy can attest to that. About ten years
ago, she was seriously ill. “I could barely rouse myself from my bed except for
treatment every morning. Once I was done with treatment, I came home and wanted
to crawl right back into bed, but the dog needed to go out.”

She goes on to say, “While I was out with the dog, I
noticed some weeding needed to be done so while she did her thing, I tended to
the weeds. From there my attention wandered to flowers that required
deadheading and so on… not only did the dog need my attention, but also the
garden. Every day I continued to putter as best I could. This not only focused
my mind but relaxed me during a stressful period and, in the end, I think,
contributed to my full recovery.” You see, it always works out in the end.

We don’t know it all, but we all know something. With
gardening, it’s about learning experiences, sticking to what works, and letting
faith carry you through when it doesn’t. Everyone has a story, and many of them
are started in the garden. In fact, that’s where most tips for growing gardens
are born. What’s your story?

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