Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Gardening: Plant and Garden
One of my earliest fascinations in life was watching things grow; Observing tiny seemingly lifeless seeds turn into overgrown fruit-bearing vegetation was to me simply remarkable. My mom had a garden in the back yard and I would always help her tend to it. I used to pretend I was a farmer working on my land. Every morning I would be so filled with excitement as I went out back to check on my crops. As I grew older and made some friends I gradually lost my enthusiasm for growing veggies. However, this past spring I did not attend school and had some time on my hands, so I decided to try and revive an old flame of mine. Gardening. The following is a guide on how to start and manage a garden devised from my own experience on Ã¢â¬Å"the farmÃ¢â¬ . First let me make clear that in order to have an aesthetically pleasing and bountiful garden it takes a lot of work. There is constant maintenance that is required. You have to want to take care of it. If a garden is not properly tended to your plants will die and be overrun by unwanted weeds/pests. To begin your first task should be to select an appropriate spot for your garden. When selecting the perimeters of your garden keep in mind that you want a relatively sunny spot year round. For instance if you choose a spot in March when the trees are bare it might be sunny but, in June when the surrounding trees are covered in leaves they may overshadow your garden. Some shade is okay but, to get the best results from your garden pick a spot that your fairly certain is sunny or will be sunny most of the time. Make sure your spot has good drainage; if the area where youÃ¢â¬â¢re considering putting your garden regularly floods it is not the best place for a garden. Another decision you need to make is whether to use raised beds or not. A raised bed is basically an open box filled with soil usually about 6 inches tall. This year I tried a raised bed garden and found that it has some advantages: It basically eliminated regular weeding (which can be a chore), it kept many pests away from my veggies, and it looked nice. However, raised beds do require more initial labor to set up and are more costly compared to traditional gardens. So now that youÃ¢â¬â¢ve found your spot itÃ¢â¬â¢s time to plan what you want to grow. Figure out what type of garden you want. Do you want to grow Vegetables? Herbs? Flowers? Or perhaps a combination of the three? I prefer growing vegetables because itÃ¢â¬â¢s always rewarding to eat the fruit of your labor. This year I found that tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, lettuce, eggplant, beans, and zucchini all do very well in raised beds. But, certain vegetables that require lots of space like pumpkins or watermelon do not. Now that you figured out what youÃ¢â¬â¢re going to grow plot out on some scrap paper where you will plant your crops in your garden. Keep in mind that certain plants need more space than others. When you buy your seeds read the plant spacing instructions carefully. You donÃ¢â¬â¢t want to plant anything outside before the last frost because it will kill your seedlings. By May (in southern New York) itÃ¢â¬â¢s safe to plant your seeds directly in the ground. Read the instructions on the back of each seed packet to know exactly when and how deep to sow them. If you want a head start you could even go to your local nursery and pick out some baby plants. When youÃ¢â¬â¢re transplanting from a container make sure that you water the plant before taking it out because you could damage the roots, so be gentile. Once your plants are in the ground itÃ¢â¬â¢s important that you take appropriate precautions to keep away pests and critters. The raised beds will keep away most insects and small animals but if you have gophers, rabbits, and deer in your neighborhood you will need a fence. Once the fence is in place most of the hard work is over. Just make sure you regularly water your plants, especially during summerÃ¢â¬â¢s hottest days. As well make sure you pluck any weeds that appear. By June your garden will be in full bloom. And once July/August comes around your veggies will be ready to harvest. Reflecting back on this yearÃ¢â¬â¢s garden makes me feel accomplished. IÃ¢â¬â¢m glad I took the initiative to once again be a gardener. It was a lot of work but, the rewards were definitely worth it. There is nothing like some home grown veggies. I felt like a little kid again when I was anxiously checking on my garden each mourning. I am definitely going to have a garden again this spring. If you want to experience something truly satisfying and you have the time, I would highly recommend you try having a garden too.