Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Simple Suggestion #202... Plan a garden... start small!

This idea comes from my Ministry of the Arts Calendar last week... (its image, "A Dao of Gardening" which is a quilted piece by by Karel K. Hendee is to the right). Garden planning is what I'm doing today. This morning my seed order arrived, and yesterday I planted my lettuces and spinach -- they're cold crops and can survive spring's cooler temperatures. It was great to feel the dirt in my hands. Winter has been long enough -- and it's been harder than ever to wait for gardening season!

But planning a garden is the first step. The mistake that many gardeners make right off the bat is that their dreams are bigger than they realize, and a big gardening dream requires more effort than they might be able to offer as "unseasoned" gardeners.

Fortunately for me, when I first started testing my green thumb, there wasn't much for garden space, and that may be what saved my ambitious gardener's soul. Too many wanna-be-gardeners start too big and end up overwhelmed. But I had small kids, and very little time for big dreams, so I planted two tomato plants that first year, and they did just fine because they were about all that I had time to look after. The next year, I had four tomato plants, and a little row of carrots around the edge of the tomato bed. The year after that, I got my hubby to dig up a little bit of the lawn, and we had a few more carrots, tomatoes and a couple of cukes with a wee bit of lettuce. By then, my girls were playing together in the yard, and sometimes helping me with their own little shovels and watering cans.

Twenty years later, I've got a good-sized garden, but I still make mistakes when it comes to planting... too many leeks last year, not enough cucumbers. I guess the trick is to be realistic, and the best way to determine what works is always to start small, no matter what I'm planting.

So, today's challenge is to come up with a simple plan to grow something edible. For some, it might be a pot of herbs on the window sill, or a few strawberries in a balcony flower box. Start with some good soil, and new seeds. The only real challenges are to actually get the planting done, and develop the habit of watering (and fertilizing, if need be) regularly. Hopefully, the joy of watching things grow strengthens the desire to keep at it. And if, somehow, things don't work out -- well, it's not like it was a huge cost or a ton of effort -- and there's always next year!

Happy Garden Planning!

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