Nursery owner

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner.

Laurie Garretson

Laurie Garretson

A new year brings another opportunity for all gardeners, new and experienced, to try their hand at growing their best garden yet. Gardeners that have planted lots of gardens over the years always seem to be very optimistic and have positive expectations for that next garden.

We all really do need to say goodbye to 2020 and look forward to a new, wonderful 2021 spring of working in our gardens and being with nature. After the year we have experienced, we should all get outdoors and get our hands in the soil planting flowers, shrubs, trees, herbs and lots of healthy vegetables.

Getting our hands in the soil can actually make us happy. Yes, it really can. There is a good soil bacteria, Mycobacterium vaccae, that stimulates serotonin-releasing neurons in our brains. These are the same neurons that Prozac and other antidepressant drugs also activate.

Working in a garden can provide a good amount of exercise, depending on how strenuous or mild a workout you might want or are able to handle.

Throughout the past few years, the combination of working to grow our own healthy foods to keep our families healthy and doing good things for the planet has produced a huge following of young and old gardeners. According to the National Gardening Association, a family of four that grows its own vegetable garden can expect to spend about $70 a year on vegetable seeds and transplants and grow an estimated $600 worth of vegetables from that.

Now could be a good time to start preparing a location for a 2021 spring garden. After you have found a good sunny location that drains well, the next step is to prepare the soil.

Many new gardeners do not realize just how important the soil is to anything that grows in it. Think of soil as the immune system of all growing things. When plants are able to obtain nutrients they require from the soil and natural fertilizers, the plants will be much more resistant to many varieties of diseases and have fewer pest problems.

Starting an organic garden in well-prepared soil, without synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, should always be the gardener’s main concern. What a wonderful 2021 New Year’s resolution.

Until next time, let’s all try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.

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Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to laurie@vicad.com or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.

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