Wednesday, May 7, 2014

5 Tips to Keep Your Gardening Vision Going

5 tips to keep your gardening vision going
If you are new to home vegetable gardening, welcome aboard!

You are about to embark on a wonderful, yet challenging journey.  

There are probably a million things that are going through your head right now and that's OK.  That is to be expected.

I have compiled a short list of 5 tasks to keep in mind as you begin this home vegetable gardening journey.  

Now you may be thinking (as you go through these 5 tips), that these are too simple to forget.  But, it's the simple things that seem to drop off or out of our minds when we start getting busy.  Be sure to print this post out and hang it on the fridge, book mark this blog post, or whatever you do that will get you to refer back to it.  These tips help me and I am sure they can help you.

For you experienced home vegetable gardeners out there, maybe reading these will spark a refresher in your mind or a "ah yes, I need to work on that more," moment.  I have been doing this for over 30 years and every now and again (more now than again), I have to step back and get focused in on my home vegetable gardening tasks.  

Again, I hope these help you as much as they help me.

Make a Vegetable Garden Plan and Stick to It
The Garden Tiger Record Book
I will be the first to admit this tip took me a while to get good at because it always seemed the most tedious to me. But what I find is, it saved me time, and headaches.  By drawing up my plan of what I will be growing, how much and where, I find myself getting a lot more done in a shorter period of time.

This single tip, let's me know how many seeds I should start indoors (for those plants that I do start indoors), when to start them, how much space I should set aside for the variety of plant that I am growing and so on.

You can use anything from graph paper (remember that stuff), an excel spreadsheet, or an online garden planner.  Mother Earth News magazine has a great online planner.  You can get fairly detailed with it.  

There are other types of planners such as the Garden Record Book from Cabin Tiger, which is the one that I use, or you can simply use some paper.  Whatever works for you is the best solution, but you must get started.

Stay Positive
A couple of years ago, someone wrote on our Facebook wall that their neighbor came over one day and something to the affect of "it's a waste of time to start your garden from seeds."  Needless to say she became aggravated.  You simply don't need that kind of negativity around, however, you simply can't avoid it sometimes.

A good solution to this would be to invite that neighbor back over during the course of the gardening season and show off, brag or whatever you want to call it, your gardening successes.

Your positivity could change the mind of a neighbor, a friend etc., and they could jump into home vegetable gardening as well. 

You will quickly come to find out that no two gardening seasons will ever be alike.  The weather changes, animals move into your neighborhood and there are a whole slew of other factors that will make one home vegetable gardening season to the next seem like centuries apart.

If you don't stay positive, you could literally talk yourself out of gardening altogether.  For example, two years ago I grew about 300 pounds of cucumbers.  A banner year I must say so myself, however, last year, was not so great.  I simply did not fair well at all.  A lot of my starts were drowned out from the heavy rains early on and rabbits devastated the second batch I tried to grow.  Even though my cucumbers were terrible, my peppers (and other veggies) did great, so I focused in on that.  

Had I kept my mind on those cucumbers (or lack thereof), I would have driven myself crazy. So , STAY POSITIVE!

Increase Your Knowledge
Isn't the internet a great place?  At your fingertips you have access to a slew of information on home vegetable gardening.  From gardening blog posts (such as this one), podcasts, online gardening videos and so much more. 

Not only do I read quite a bit myself, but I like to share some good eBooks on our Facebook page.  Twice a week I will search over on Amazon for good gardening books that you can download for free or a very low cost.   Just click here and you will see new titles pop up all the time.

You should always be focused on learning new gardening ideas, techniques, tips and tricks.  The more knowledge that you have, the more fun home vegetable gardening will become.

Brush Off Failure
This goes hand in hand with staying positive.  You are going to fail at something in your garden.  That is a fact.  It is a fact because there are elements that you can't control.  Insect infestations, drought, and so much more.  Eventually something is going to be a disaster in your garden just like my cucumbers were for me last year.

Understand, that every home vegetable gardener will fail at something in their gardens.  Just brush it off, write down what happened (again tip #1) so you don't repeat that problem again in the future (I'll get to this in the next tip) and move on.  
Don't Repeat History
Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.  That famous line, credited from Spanish poet and philosopher George Santayana, is just as true in home vegetable gardening as it is in life.  

You need to learn from your past successes and mistakes.  The only way to do that (to bring this post full circle), is to look back on the plans you made (tip #1) in previous years.  Stick with what has been working and tweak what has not.  

Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein is given credit as saying the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  So stop trying the same thing every year that has been failing for you.  Try something else, or try it a different way.  

For example, let's say you have been wanting to grow a certain type of tomato plant and you keep choosing a location in your yard because that is the only spot you think it will grow, yet it does not fair well.  Try planting it in a pot, and moving it to another spot in your yard.  Something along those lines.  You get the point.  

These are only five and I am sure you can add even more.  I would love to hear what tips you have that keep you going in your home vegetable garden.  Be sure to comment below and let me know.

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