Skills, patience and persistence benefit beginning gardners – The Republic


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Straw hat-less, glove-less, without a trowel to your name (let alone a shovel)? You may be a beginner.
Think that the large seed packet display at Rural King hasn’t a thing to do with you? You, too, may be a beginner. To you I say welcome, come embrace a whole new world of possibilities!
There are other “beginners” out there, too. Recently changed from a large garden plot to raised beds? You’re experimenting with new ways to get the job done. Gone from raised beds to container gardening to make pretty, but with less room? You, too. Or perhaps you’ve had images of grow lights sprouting seeds in your basement in February? Now there’s a change requiring new skills, patience, and persistence. Moved to a new neighborhood with a whole new soil type and balance of sun and shade? That’s a doozy, but you’re not alone!
So, how do you befriend plants, willing to happily perform for you? The three biggest areas of importance to them are soil, light and water. This is not to say that, once committed to a plan, you can’t change a young under-performing plant or tree’s location and enjoy its splendor once again — you can!
Gardening, being an organic process, is all about change — but there’s a science to success. Luckily, often a tweak here and there to change light conditions, explore irrigation options, or add soil supplements can get you right back on track.
With the garden season 2021 winding down, here are some tasks and considerations that, once completed, will help boost the chances of garden success in 2022.
Do soil testing now. In places where you’ll be digging beds in ’22, take soil samples for analysis by the friendly folks at our local Extension Office.
Confer with Experts. Ask around and contact folks who can help with garden design, address existing plant maintenance, or plan and perform tree maintenance or removal.
Assess irrigation. Too little water? Too much? Either can foil the best laid plans. Now is a good time to add irrigation or a drainage solution before spring ’22.
Infrastructure: paths, walls, and irrigation systems. To add or alter a garden walkway, now through December (as long as the soil remains workable) is a good time. The same goes for adding irrigation or drainage solutions. Landscapers are winding down this year’s garden season and may be willing to provide services at a lower rate.
The Fun Part: Sourcing Plants. Don’t forget your local growers. They’re a great source of plants available suited to your requirements, as well as letting you know in advance what they plan to have available next spring. You may also benefit from browsing on-line for additional growing advice like USDA Growing Zones (ours is 6a), and soil, light and water conditions for the plants you choose.
So, welcome to the club, growers, enjoy! See you out there!

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