Five S's for Gardening Success

Five S's for Gardening Success

Five S's for Gardening Success

The beautiful thing about gardening is, in one way or another, everyone is a beginner. Even if you’ve been gardening your whole life, there’s something new to learn about growing different kinds of plants, growing in different climates, or dealing with new pests. If you’re just starting out and contemplating planting a tomato, rose, or petunia, don’t be intimidated.  Trial and error are the best ways to learn. For example, I tried multiple ways to rid my yard of moles. I tried baits, traps, and even vibrating mole repellants to no avail. It wasn’t until I tried castor oil, that I was able to convince the moles to move away.

Here are some tips on getting started in the vegetable or flower garden. Follow these 5 S’s and you’ll be well on your way to a productive, beautiful garden.

Sun—Most fruiting vegetables (tomatoes, beans, squash) and many annual flowers (zinnia, marigold, and geranium) grow best with at least 6 hours of direct sun a day. If you have only 2 to 4 hours, try vegetables such as carrots, lettuce, and potatoes or shade-loving flowers, such as begonias, impatiens, and coleus.

Soil—Choose a location with healthy, well-drained soil and you’ll have less fertility, insect, and disease problems. Amend the soil with a 2- to 3-inch thick layer of compost before planting.  Make it easy on yourself by using a heavy-duty wheelbarrow to move the compost into the bed.  I like the Wheelbarrow from Lifetime Products, since it’s designed to send more weight to the wheels and less to my shoulders!

Site—The old adage “out of sight, out of mind” pertains to your new garden. Place it near a walkway, driveway, deck, or patio so you visit it daily. Once it’s planted, you’ll only need 5 to 10 minutes a day to weed, water, and pick your veggies and flowers.

Size—Start small. A small raised bed near the house can be very productive. Keep it to less than 4 feet wide so you can reach the center of the bed from any side without stepping on and compacting the soil. Make the bed as long as appropriate for your site and eight to ten inches high.

Selection—This may seem obvious, but grow foods you like to eat, and flowers you love to see.  Don’t worry about the right flower color combinations; if you follow the 5 S’s and plant what you love, your garden will be a success.

 

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