I love to visit with new gardeners. Many times their excitement and enthusiasm actually become contagious. Just the other day, I had the opportunity to have a long visit with a very excited young man who wanted to learn how to grow plants that he and his wife could eat. He nor his wife had ever grown anything before. Neither one of them had a clue how to make a plant grow, much less produce something edible.
I remembered when I first decided that I wanted to start a garden of my own. Like them, I really didn’t know the first thing about gardening. I was lucky and happened to meet an older gentleman who obviously knew how to grow anything from the looks of his gardens. He assured me that I would be able to grow healthy productive plants if I would just follow his few simple gardening rules. Believing that I would be able to grow anything, with his help, I slowly started my gardening career.
The first things he highly stressed were to increase and maintain the organic makeup of my soil and keep the mineral contents balanced. The next rule was to plant adapted plants to my specific environment. Nature grows millions of plants that have naturally become adapted to a specific location on the planet. Many of these plant varieties are still thriving today without any care from humans. These native plants have adapted to their surroundings through years of natural selection.
I learned to plant during a plant’s proper season — a season when that specific plant will naturally thrive. Another rule is to never do anything to harm the beneficial life in my soil.
When I followed these suggestions, I was very seldom bothered by insect pests or plant diseases. Just as nature would have it.
Until next time, let’s try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.