This week, five tips for beginner gardeners
just starting to plan their spring gardens.
Tip #1. Keep it small
Whatever else I try to do in this column, my overriding goal is to encourage more life-long gardeners, and nothing makes a person feel more inadequate and exhausted than biting off more than they can chew.
The vast majority of those who leap before they look will not try it again once they land, crumpled and bruised at the end of a punishing summer; and from that heap will arise the worst kind of anti-gardening spokesperson – the kind that has ‘tried it, and it didn’t work.’
Strong words will be uttered…snarky memes created on social media…my name taken in vain…many, many times. Wouldn’t it be better to skip all that, start smaller and achieve balance?
So, whatever that winter-addled brain of yours is cooking up in the plans department, cut it in half.
Depending on how much Pinterest garden project fodder you’ve been browsing lately, you may want to cut it in half again.
Why neglect fourteen tomatoes in a garden bed all season when you can fawn over three in pots on your patio? Adjust your plan to reflect the life you live right now, not the total fantasy you’re sure you’ll live in six months’ time.
You’re aiming for a sweet spot where the work you put in leaves you feeling physically tired, but mentally alive. If you achieved that last year, great. Kick it up a notch this year. But just a notch.
Tip #2. Grow what you love
Hate tomatoes? Don’t grow them. Does cossetting your hybrid tea roses set your world on fire? Grow more. Not sure if you want to board the Succulent Train with everyone else? Don’t.
Trends come and go in the plant industry just as surely as they do in fashion and kitchen appliance finishes, and if you base your entire garden on someone else’s hashtag you’re never really going to feel like it’s yours. By all means enjoy the trends when they turn you on, but allow your garden to reflect the gardener that tends it. If that means growing cool hybrids in an Heirloom World, don’t wait for permission, #justdoit.