As I looked at the remnants of my garden, I thought I’d share with you some things I learned. I started the season back in April with a garden chock full of budding tomatoes, bell peppers, cabbages, lettuce, and onions! Now, all that’s left is some lone parsley and Serrano peppers.
I didn’t manage much of a bountiful harvest is any way whatsoever, but I did learn a lot and have a lot of fun!
Here I am to tell you a few things I have learned over the last few months. This is only the beginning (and 1st season) of my gardening and homesteading journey, so I know this is only the start of my education. I am happy with how things turned out and I am glad I am able to share what I’ve learned with you. My hope is that you can learn from me as you start (or perfect) your own gardens!
1. It won’t be perfect the first time.
My garden was by NO means perfect. It was a mess from the start! I had no idea what I was doing and was not at all ready for what was to come! I just went wild! Please don’t do this. Make sure you have a solid plan in place before getting started.
2. Fences are important.
If you follow my Facebook page (fb.me/myurbanhomestead.stl) you will know all about my dog, Archibald. He ate all 4 of my cabbages and would walk around and lay in my pepper patch! Fences are not just important to keep dogs out of the garden, but also to keep out other pests like bunnies and squirrels. I learned this the hard way, since squirrels got ALL my tomatoes, bunnies got all but one of my squash, and my dog got all my cabbages. Just make sure you fence in your garden!
3. Don’t be afraid to mess things up and try again.
This is no joke, don’t be afraid to mess up and don’t be afraid to try again and again and again and again. Planning is important, but you also just need to jump in and go for it! HAVE NO FEAR!
4. Not everything will grow, not matter how much you tend to it.
I tended to my garden daily. I made sure I watered and fertilized and weeded, but that didn’t matter. In the end, I only got 1 bell pepper, 1 squash, a bag of lettuce, 2 pounds of tomatillos, and about a pound of spicy peppers. While I’m proud of the this, it still isn’t a lot. I lovingly took care of the garden, but some plants just didn’t produce. If this happens to you, don’t let it get you down, try again next year!
5. You may not get any crops.
Like #4, you may or may not get anything! Try again next year, or reevaluate your garden to make changes to what or where you plant.
6. Don’t over plant.
This was my biggest mistake. I planted WAYYYY too much stuff in the beginning. I packed everything in and gave 0 shits *pardon my French* about recommended spacing. My plants (and me in the end) paid the price for this. Please make sure you plan your garden so that each plant has enough space to grow and spread.
7. Fertilizer is your friend.
Please, please, please fertilize. No matter what that bag of fancy, expensive garden soil said, it will never have enough good stuff in it to take your plants through the whole season. Buy fertilizer or make your own, just make sure you are fertilizing!
8. Don’t let pests take over.
Insects are a real issue when it comes to organic gardening. Make sure you do your research prior to planting. You will need to have a plan in place on how to handle insect attackers! I highly recommend using Diatomachous Earth all over the garden bad and all over the nonflowering plants. Even though my dog ate all my cabbages, with the final cabbage, he also managed to eat a bunch of moth eggs that were trying to take over my cabbages. Also, sometimes, no matter how much you take care to keep insects away, they will still come.
9. Don’t give up.
Please don’t give up! No matter how things go, don’t give up! Even if everything goes wrong or everything dies, keep trying! Try again for the next season or the next year! YOU CAN DO IT!!
10. At times, gardening sucks.
Last, but not least, sometimes gardening really sucks! Things don’t grow, plants get eaten my pests, bugs take over, it gets too hot and burns plants, etc. etc! However, in the end, it’s ALL WORTH IT!