I’ve known a few people who have started vegetable gardens over the past few years. But I’ve known A LOT more who wanted to start one and didn’t.
So what stopped them?
The cost. The effort. The feeling that they would fail. Not knowing what to plant. Or when. Or where. Not wanting to dig up their lawn. Worrying about soil tests. Water usage. Sunlight. Bugs. Pests. Animals. Will they start and lose steam? Will they not grow enough? Too much? Do they have to start seeds? Is it okay to buy from Home Depot? Will they have time? What will the neighbors think? Will it be an eyesore?
For those of us who tend our vegetables, in small backyard plots or in hundreds of acres, we should encourage people to push past these questions – even though they are legitimate.
My Ten Things For Would Be Gardeners
- Do it.
- Don’t worry.
- Stuff wants to grow. You can help.
- Start small. 10 x 10 is fine.
- Raise the beds. Either frame it or just raise the earth. 4 feet wide and as long as you want.
- Use compost mixed in with your good soil. Take care of your soil. You’ll learn how as you keep at it.
- Start with simple crops. Lettuce and peas, carrots, beets, beens, broccoli. Buy some of the plants that you can like broccoli, and direct sow the stuff like carrots, beets, beans and peas.
- As you advance, try things like row covers and move into more complicated crops like potatoes, tomatoes, gnomes and komodo dragons.
- If you’re afraid of being ugly and judged, relax. My garden is boring, brown and rectangular surrounded by chicken wire. Stuff grows just fine and I judge the taste of the veggies to be excellent.
- If you have a design sense and dream of an English/French paradise, go for it. People like me with no design sense will be jealous.
These last two points are getting some chatter the past few days. I sure wish that I was a gifted designer. But I’m not. I suppose I could pay somebody to come in and make my garden prettier (I may get a nice wooden fence!), but it’s not high on my priority list. So, I don’t want to scare anybody off of gardening with the fear of “it must be pretty or it ain’t a garden”. Plant your stuff, weed when you can, take care of your soil. That’s about it.
I’m hopeful that there are lots of people out there who think like that.
For the record, here’s my ugly garden. A couple from above from this weekend. Dirty, brown, boring rectangles. And chickenwire. I love it!