Monday, May 30, 2011

In the Garden: A 'How to' with Melanie

Today we have another wonderful post from a friend, fellow blogger and incredible photographer Melanie from Tip Toe Thirty.
So, I'm on my 4th year of gardening.  I've learned a great lesson each of those 4 years.  Things that are basic enough, and yet easy enough to screw up.  Hopefully by discussing the mistakes I made, I can help one less person make them.  And none of them are super serious mistakes, just little things that can keep your garden from thriving like it should.

1. To Water Or Not To Water?

You should water your garden everyday right?  No?  Every two days?  How do you know?  The first thing is, yes, there is a problem with watering "consistantly" or on a schedule.  By continually giving just a little water every day to your plants you're telling them to grow a shallow root system.  If they never have to reach far to get to nice moist soil, then why would they?  Do the finger test to find out whether you should water or not.  Hopefully you didn't start the hobby of gardening with hopes that you would stay clean... because I need you to stick a finger in it.  Seriously.  Put your finger into the dirt.  I reach down as far as my finger will go.  Is it cold?  Moist?  Dry?  Can you not even get your finger to pierce the ground?  That's how you know whether to water or not... cold & moist soil is happy soil.  Dry or warm soil is, well, dry.

2. Lighting- How much is too much? Or not enough?
You need at LEAST 8 hours of sun a day.  Find the sunniest spot in your yard.   A place where your front porch or back porch or trees or WHATEVER won't cast a shadow on your garden.  The best gardens face south.  Until this year my garden faced west.  Well, in my defense, south west.  It worked, but I'm excited to see how much it takes off this year now that it is facing south!


3. Animals
Do a little research.  See what kind of animals are common in your neck of the woods and plan to keep them out before they even get in.  My biggest problem here in these parts are stubborn and unminding labrador retrievers and 2 year olds.  Oh yeah, and bunnies.  So a 3 foot green construction fence is enough to keep those "critters" out of my garden.  And it's low enough that I can just step into it to get into my garden.  If you have deer or other large creatures then you'll need to plan accordingly.  But that's the point, PLAN.  Plan ahead of time so that half of your crop doesn't get eating by the next door neighbor's pet rabbit that has gotten loose. ;-)

4. Herb Planting
This is the lesson I'm learning this year.  I dedicated two rows of my garden to herbs.  Did you know that some herbs prefer baskets and/or boxes over garden beds?  Did you know some herbs prefer dryness over moistness?  (I have rosemary that I only water every 2 or 3 times because they prefer dry barren conditions.)  I wish I had planted my basil, cilantro, chives and rosemary in pretty planters instead of with my tomatoes and beans!  Besides, it would have decorated my back porch a little more.

That's all from me today.  Thanks so much to Margot for letting me pop on her blog and grace you with my presence!  If you guys are looking for some more reads come visit me over at Tip Toe Thirty.  I like to talk about crafting, my kids, photography, and gardening.

See you around the blog world!
Thank you so much Mel, for sharing your gardening wisdom. I know that I am going to be keeping these tips in the back of my mind, when I am out in my garden. And I will be sure to share an update of how that is going, very soon!

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