Earlier this month I made mention that April is national gardening month. While hardcore gardeners know that tending to the garden is a year-long process and the planting of seedlings probably should start in February, it is most often April when most of us start to think about gardening.
Whether you’re a long time gardener or just a beginner I’ve come up with a few ideas that might help you in your garden this year.
Find a good pair of gardening gloves! I’ve gone through so many gardening gloves it’s ridiculous, but you know the old saying that you get what you pay for.
The cheap five dollar gloves are going to cut it, in fact I’ve had those gloves tear on me in the first use. Even if they are colorful and come in different patterns resist the temptation. Instead a good and comfortable $10 to $15 dollar pair of gloves will last a lot longer. It helps to find a pair that is washable.
Technology can also be useful in helping you keep track of your gardening. There are many apps out there for gardening and I’m sure you can find one that meets all your needs.
Currently ,I’ve been using MyGarden.org to help me with my garden this year. This website and companion app allows you to keep a listing of all the plants in your garden, provides a calendar of gardening tasks, and allows for you to journal (take notes) about your garden.
Aside from the items listed above MyGarden.org is also a community for gardeners. You can follow other gardeners, send messages and even share your garden photos. There is even a plant finder section where you can share a photo of your plant and get help identifying it.
After using MyGarden.org for a few weeks it seems a little lacking, not necessarily from features, but from users. The idea is that the community build a network of gardeners and share and discuss gardening related topics. I think the problem is that the platform is still too new. As more people begin to learn about MyGarden.org I think the overall usage will become smoother and more rewarding.
While it may not be the most robust tool out there, I think MyGarden.org is still worth checking out.
Boil Your Water
Boiling your water could help the growth of your plants. It sounds odd but there is actually some research on the matter. In fact I first learned about this from the Mythbusters that showed after several weeks plants which had been watered with pre-boiled water were actually slightly healthier than those watered with tap water.
First off the lets clarify by saying you are not watering the plants with boiling hot water. Don’t do that, it would kill them! No, instead the idea is that you first boil your water, let it cool then water your plants.
Why does boiling your water actually make for a healthier plant? Because of the chemicals in tap water could actually be inhibiting certain nutrients from the plant. There are lots of debates online about filtered water vs tap water, boiling your water can be just as beneficial as using filtered water.
Personally I would suggest using boiling water or filtered water on small seedlings indoors, just to help them during the early growth period.
Once you’ve moved your plants to the yard, and if you have a relatively large or mid-size garden, using boiling water would be impractical.
Don’t be afraid to grow plants in your garden that you don’t normally see. Just because a certain plant is found among your neighbor’s yards, doesn’t mean you can’t give it a try.
When my big trees along the side of my house fell over in a wind storm I could have replanted traditional trees like oak, or dogwood but instead I decided I wanted to plant Japanese Yoshino Cherry Blossom trees.
I’ve always loved the cherry blossoms and while they zone was right for such a tree they weren’t commonly grown in the midwest. Many of my co-workers also warned me that they might not live past their first year.
With proper care however, and a little luck, my three Cherry Blossoms not only lived they flourished. They did so well that this year I planted three more to finish out the side of the house. Not only do they look great it adds something different to the neighborhood.
When choosing something different in the way of plants, I suggest checking if it is compatible with your gardening zone, if it is then I say give it a try.
Don’t be afraid to start your garden today, even if you think it’s too late. Many seed packets and gardening charts will tell you that seeds typically need to start growing anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks before spring in order to be ready to plant in grow by the suggested growing dates.
I’ve found that this is more or less a guideline. I’ve started seedlings in only a few weeks time before planting them in warm spring soil and have been relatively successful.
Depending on the cycle of the plant you might not get a bloom or produce the first year, you still can have a healthy plant that will be successful the following year.
Key is to take care of your seedling, make sure it gets plenty of sun and water. Also remember not to crowd your seedlings. I’d only plant 2 to 3 seeds per seedling container, the more seeds you plant in the pot the more likely the seedlings will begin to fight for nutrients and space.
More Gardening Resources
For more gardening ideas check out www.nationalgardenmonth.org. I hope this has inspired you to start your garden today, no matter how big or small.