These 7 tips are helpful ideas I’ve learned during my lifetime of gardening. There are many more I could have written but 7 is such a good number I decided to stick with it. Feel free to post your tips below!
Tip #1 Everybody makes mistakes!
All of the gardeners you know and admire (even famous ones) have made plenty of mistakes and killed tons of plants, whether they admit to it or not. As Albert Einstein said, “Failure is success in progress.” And as my good friend Ann Ralph said, “If you’ve never killed a plant, you’re not trying hard enough!”
Tip #2 Your Dirt is not “Bad.”
Often people blame their garden soil for a multitude of problems when the real issue is something simple like overwatering or planting a plant in the wrong location. However, in some areas contamination from industrial or construction waste can be a real issue. If you are concerned about contamination, contact your local Cooperative Extension Office for a list of labs that test soil for contaminants. You can also read Gardening 101: Soil Preparation to learn more about the basics of garden soil.
Tip #3 Start Small!
Some people buy too many shoes, others too many teddy bears, but not gardeners! We buy too many seeds/plants and plant bigger gardens than we can handle! Peruse seed catalogs cautiously, shop nursery aisles thoughtfully, and don’t buy more than you can tend. You can read about my past seed hoarding problem in Seed Packets=Infinite Possibilities!
Tip #4 Make a Plan Before You Plant.
Take time to decide what types of plants you really like or what kind of garden you want to plant. Look through gardening magazines and books and online websites. Find examples of garden sketches with tips for ideas on how to create your own.
Tip #5 If it sounds too good to be true, it might be!
Gardening friends, as well as some books and websites may offer tips that sound too good to be true. There are so many gardening myths out there, and some are even famous for being repeated. Unfortunately, most of these ideas are not proven and generally do not work. Take advice with a grain of salt (or whichever herb you prefer). Make sure to google suggestions and find answers on reputable garden web sites.
Tip #6 Monitor your garden.
Monitor your garden for insects, diseases and weeds. My college plant science teacher told our that class he walks around his garden every morning with a cup of coffee to observe his landscape. Monitoring helps him keep track of new weed seedlings, as well as insects and diseases before populations explode and the amount of work needed to be done multiplies.
Tip #7 Go Natural!
Avoid spraying pesticides in your garden. These chemicals cause harm to the environment, people, beneficial insects and animals. Even organic chemicals may be harmful, always read the label before spraying anything. To go natural, try other methods like putting down cardboard to block weeds, hosing off pests with water and planting disease-resistant plants instead of choosing to spray something. If you do decide to spray, choose a horticultural oil or soap and make sure not to spray when beneficial insects are present.
Originally published: January 23, 2016
Updated :September 22, 2016