Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting a Garden

Ah, gardening. Visions of plump tomatoes, overflowing herb planters, and vibrant flower beds dance in our heads. But let's be honest, the reality for most beginners (myself very much included) is a bit messier. There's a learning curve, and it can be overwhelming at first. 

So, if you're considering giving the wonderful world of gardening a try, here are a few things I wish I knew before trying to grow my own food.


1. Sunshine, Sunshine, Sunshine:

I naively planted my "all-star" veggie garden in a shady corner, picturing myself as some sort of mystical plant whisperer who could defy the laws of sunlight. Spoiler alert: my tomato plants resembled string beans, and my peppers were more like pale green marbles. Turns out, most vegetables crave sunshine – at least 6-8 hours a day. So, grab your sunglasses and a light meter, because location, location, location!


2. Not All Plants Are NICE!:

I planted my vegetables with too much excitement, unaware of the concept of companion planting. Turns out, some plants just don't get along. Basil and tomatoes? Best buds! Peppers and potatoes? Not so much. Researching companion planting can save you a lot of heartache (and droopy vegetables).


3. The Waiting Game:

Those little seed packets promising "fast-growing vegetables in just 4 weeks" are a cunning marketing ploy. Nature has its own pace, and sometimes those precious seedlings take their sweet time sprouting. Don't be tempted to yank them out in a fit of impatience – just trust the process and enjoy the miracle of life (even if it takes a while). 


4. Mother Nature is An Unfaithful Mistress:

You've meticulously planned, planted, and watered, and your garden is thriving. Then, bam! A surprise downpour washes away your precious seeds, or a heatwave turns your lettuce into a crispy mess. Gardening is a constant negotiation with the elements. Embrace the unpredictability, learn to adapt, and maybe invest in a good rain gauge (and a shade cloth). Here at Cedar Planters we also carry greenhouse covers and winter covers that are sized to each cedar planter. These products can extend your crop time and protect your beautiful plants from bad weather and little intruders invading your plants. 


5. Don’t Drown Your Plants:

Remember those adorable little seedlings I mentioned? Well, in my enthusiasm, I drowned them with love (& by love I mean, water). Turns out, overwatering is a rookie mistake. Most plants like their soil moist, not soggy. Learn about the specific water needs of your plants, and resist the urge to turn your garden into a personal swimming pool (for the plants, that is).


6. Embrace the Imperfections (and the Bugs):

Those magazine-worthy gardens with perfectly manicured rows? Don't let them fool you. Most gardens are a delightful mess of growth, sprawl, and the occasional wonky vegetable. Embrace the imperfections – they're part of the charm! And as for the bugs? Well, a few nibbled leaves are a sign of a thriving ecosystem. Just learn to identify the good bugs from the bad ones, and intervene only when necessary.


7. Enjoy the Journey:

Gardening is a journey, not a destination. There will be successes and failures, triumphs and tantrums (mostly directed at stubborn weeds). But the most important thing is to have fun! Savour the feeling of sunshine on your face, the satisfaction of nurturing life, and the pure joy of harvesting your own homegrown food. Because let's be honest, the taste of a tomato you've grown yourself is unlike anything you'll find at the store.


So, there you have it, my loving dirt enthusiasts (or soon-to-be dirt enthusiasts). Gardening may not be all sunshine and rainbows (literally!), but it's a rewarding and enriching experience. With a little knowledge, a lot of patience, and a willingness to get your hands dirty, you'll be well on your way to cultivating your own little slice of paradise. Now, grab your gloves, get ready to learn, and happy planting!

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