Happy Spring everyone! I should preface this post by confessing that I am not a gardening expert. To be honest, I am still a novice with much to learn. Gardening is a skill that is acquired from trial and error. As a beginner, I have already learned MANY things the hard way.
When I first began to plan my garden I read gardening books and pinned a whole lot of gardening pins. I felt inspired and ready to go when spring finally arrived. My first growing season appeared to be a flop but then the Texas weather stayed warm and sunny, as it tends to do, well into the month of November and I got to experience my first real harvest. At last, I got to enjoy some of the fruits of my labor. By no means was it an abundance, but it was SOMETHING. Below are some tips and money-savers I learned along the way.
My Top 4 Tips:
- Know Your Zone – Waco is zone 8a. When I was pinning every gardening resource I could find on pinterest, I did not consider the fact that some of those resources were reflecting much different areas of the country. Our central Texas climate is clearly one of a kind and I was attempting to follow an irrelevant planting guide. Rookie mistake. This put a lot of my plants behind schedule. A co-worker, who is considered a “master gardener”, shared this awesome resource with me that is specific to McLennan County. http://mclennan.agrilife.org/files/2011/03/Planting_guide.pdf
- Start Small – There is SO MUCH to consider when planning a garden, that going “too big, too fast” could result in a lot of time, money, and effort wasted. I don’t know one mama who has time for that.
- Make A Plan – I have a handy, little file folder with all of my gardening information in one place. I sketched my garden bed and plotted where I would plant each set and seedling. Holding onto this each year allows me to recall what worked well and what didn’t. Consider which plants are “companions” and which plants are not friendly with one another when you are designing your garden plan. You will also want to consider the amount of sun each plant will need. As time goes on, I would encourage you to make notes of what works and what doesn’t so you don’t make the same mistake again.
- Which Way Does Your Garden Face? – If you are building a raised bed then you will want to find the most ideal spot in your yard for growing. If you already have a bed, knowing the sun exposure will help you choose plants that will grow successfully in that placement. This website breaks it down in an easy-to-understand way. http://youshouldgrow.com/sun-exposure/
As much as I aspire to have the dreamiest garden, my wallet does not allow for that in my current stage of life. Sigh, maybe one day. In the meantime, I did not want money to keep me from gardening at all. These are simple and cost-effective ways to get your garden started.
DIY raised garden bed – http://preparednessmama.com/build-raised-garden-bed/
Homemade organic pest control spray – https://www.weedemandreap.com/organic-garden-pest-control/
DIY raised bed trellis – http://www.thecapecoop.stfi.re/raised-bed-trellis-5/?sf=pgdwzjx
DIY compost tumbler – http://diycozyhome.com/diy-compost-tumbler-for-cheap/
Get creative with containers – Containers are not something I mentioned above but it’s a great way to get started! You do not need fancy or expensive containers. Check out a couple unique ideas below (courtesy of my friend Jessica):
Bicycle planter Horse trough
In the past, I have been a self-proclaimed “brown thumb”. You may be able to relate. It doesn’t have to be that way friends! Hopefully these tidbits will encourage even the most overwhelmed and intimidated beginner. Are there any experienced gardeners among us?