|I needed a garden side cup of coffee while I pulled out my failed broccoli.|
Need a few gardening tips?
I am novice gardener, learning as I go. The idea behind growing a garden is what I love. After a long hard winter on the prairie, there is something therapeutic to me to have a vegetable garden. Then I love what the garden grows, fresh vegetables that we eat daily plus I dabbled in freezing and canning last year and want to expand on that this year from garden produce. Opening a bag of frozen tomato sauce in the dead of winter gives me a slice of summer and reminds of the seasons to come.
But having time to do the gardening is another thing. If you are in the same boat as me, here are a 3 easy and simple tips from my (two) years of gardening.
1. Put good help to work in the garden
Like when a farmer comes to visit, such as my brother last weekend, bribe him with an offer such as “if you help me weed, I’ll pay you in jars of fresh salsa made from the garden” or just threaten “if you want to eat during your visit this weekend, I need you to weed now!”
Then there is putting good help that are your children to work.
No matter what our teenager son says when I ask him to weed, once he is done weeding the garden he is proud of his work. He may or may not admit that to you. Personally, I think teenagers need to be taught responsibility, accountability and work ethic. Our son despises weeds and weeding but he has learned to get the job done right. If he doesn’t, he has to keep weeding. I’m a hard knock mom in the garden. Because our teenager son works in the garden, he sets the example for his little sisters.
The result is that Miss E has gotten into gardening.
Her speciality is watering.
Bottom line, don’t garden on your own if you don’t have to. Utilize warm bodies and hands around you.
2. Gardens aren’t perfect. Don’t sweat it.
Family and work commitments kept me from even looking at the garden most of June. The broccoli went to seed. I didn’t cry. I just went to the one and only grocery store in our area to buy a few heads of broccoli for the broccoli salad I was making and didn’t sweat it.
My garden isn’t perfect and neither am I. And thankfully, my prairie grocery store keeps a supply of broccoli in the produce section probably grown by a farmer in California that doesn’t let his crop go to seed.
Bottom line, only Martha Stewart’s garden is perfect. Enjoy yours, even if only half of your spinach or carrots came up from seed, the cantaloupe and watermelon seedlings died or your broccoli went to seed.
Flowering broccoli is quite pretty.
3. Ask the experts. Learn. Experiment.
I need all the help I can get it. I read a little advice, look on our Extension Service web sites for insight and also listened to my brother when he said “get some liquid nitrogen on your corn because the leaves look a little yellow. ” Yes, sir.
I also am a sucker for marketing. Miracle-Gro? I am believer. Anything with the name “miracle” in it my garden needs.
Every day, I love going out to the garden, poking around in it, pulling some weeds, picking some lettuce and today the girls and I ate our first sugar snap peas from it.
Gardening isn’t about achieving the perfect garden for me. It’s about the peacefulness I feel there while growing a few vegetables on the prairie in our short summer season. It’s about having our family all part of the gardening process from seeding to weeding to watering to picking to freezing and canning.
The garden will probably expand in future years as long as my helping hands continue to help and no one minds when the broccoli goes to seed.
Do you have a garden? Have any fool proof tips to share with a novice gardener like me?