Starting Your First Garden

gardeningStarting a garden is no easy task – I’m learning that the hard way.  The other week my mother decided that she wanted to plant a garden in her back yard with her senior care services caretaker.  Once they told me about the idea, I knew I would be roped into the project to provide assistance.

Well, it’s been long week out in the summer sun, but I did learn a lot about starting a garden.  Below I’ll share with you some tips I picked up that will help you when you setting up your own.

Have a Plan

If you’re interested in starting a garden, makes sure you have an idea of what you want to accomplish first.  If you go into the project without a clear plan, you’ll likely miss some important details and ruin your garden for the long run.

You should know what you want to plant, what type of soil they need, how much sunlight etc.  All of these details will determine where you place your garden.

Start Small, Grow Large

Don’t get too ambitious at first.  I know how exciting it can be wanting to plant many different varieties of plants, but it’s best if you start with only a few plants.  This will help you to be more in control of what’s growing.  Once you have a solid base and experience, you can begin adding more plants.

Have the Proper Equipment

You need to make sure you have all the necessary tools for gardening.  Some items include shovels, spades, rakes, water hoses, and gloves.  I definitely recommend buying durable, high-quality items, or you’ll find yourself heading to the store for replacements more often.

Collect Your Own Compost

This will save you money in the long run.  Collect fallen leaves, twigs, and other items and begin a compost pile.  Once you have a good pile, you’ll spend less money on mulch.

Don’t Rush

Like with most things in life, it’s important to start slow and not rush the process.  Becoming and experienced gardener takes years, not hours.  Don’t expect to have a fully functioning garden overnight.  Start slow and enjoy the process, and most importantly – have fun!

Get out there and have some fun!  I’m sure you’ll enjoy making your own garden as much as we did.  For more beginner tips, check out this great article.

My Garden Troubles

I love my garden.  I’m out there whenever I can, trimming flowers, pulling weeds, etc.  The other day I was out working in my garden and my dog Roscoe got curious and decided to join me.  I have a pile of mulch sitting off to the side and he started playing and digging inside of it.  Twenty minutes later, he and I both head inside to take a little break.  Without even thinking about it, I let him into the living room without being washed off first and he headed straight to the couch, dirty paws and all.

The upholstery was now filthy.  The worst part yet, was that I was having company over the next day.  I needed to find a way to clean the dirt off quickly.  Because of the fabric used in the upholstery, I wanted to be careful not to use anything to harm the material.  I first tried to use a damp towel, but that only seemed to make it worse.

upholsteryBefore I made the mess any worse, I decided to stop and call in the pros.  I called up a local Phoenix AZ upholstery cleaning company to give me a helping hand.  Thankfully, they weren’t overbooked and were able to make an appointment for the same day.  I was so relieved.

They came in, did their thing, and left in no time at all.  What impressed me the most was that there was no sign of dirt at all!  As a bonus, the area was dried and fresh within the hour.  What a terrific job.

Thankfully everything had been resolved.  The next step for me was to give Roscoe a bath to make sure this doesn’t happen again.  He doesn’t like baths but he deserved one after that incident.

All in all, I’m glad my couch was able to be restored.  Next time Roscoe is outside with me, I’ll be sure to keep him far away from any mulch.

The Benefits of Hiring a Landscaper

Get Some Help in Your Garden

There is no doubt that planting a garden in your lawn will make it a brighter, more peaceful space. In fact, homes without any sort of gardening or landscaping are far less likely to sell those with homeowners who take the time to glamorize their lawns.

Some people enjoy gardening or prefer to do so themselves to save some money. Some would rather work with a landscaper for guidance, and some would rather leave their lawn entirely in a gardener’s care. There are some unforeseen benefits of working with a landscaper.

  • Extensive Knowledge: Your landscaper knows your climate well, and they can plant flowers, bushes, and shrubbery that will thrive in your backyard. This means low maintenance on both of your behalves because the plants will need less upkeep.
  • Chemical Experience: Landscapers also know which fertilizers and pesticides will be the most effective, without you doing a test run. They also know natural remedies that will be harmful to your pets if you own some curious animals. Using a pesticide that doesn’t work could mean losing a plant altogether, and you are back to square 1.
  • Less Effort: Aside from not having to do manual labor in your lawn, a landscaper is typically on a schedule so you don’t have to remember to take care of it. For instance, if you schedule a professional to stop by once every other week, you won’t run the risk of forgetting to weed your garden for months on end.
  • Additional Specialties: Your landscaper should be able to do more than plant and nurture your garden or lawn. Look for a landscaping company, such as the Grounds Guys of Destin FL, that has the capability of implementing hardscaping. Hardscaping means installing fountains, statues, or different types of borders that could be too complex to try on your own.

If you think that hiring a landscaper is in your gardening budget, look for a local company that you can trust to be on time and knowledgeable.

Kids and Gardening

After my own venture into the world of gardening, I realized that gardening with my four-year old granddaughter would be a great educational activity for her. She currently goes to child care in Liberty MO, and one day when I picked her up, she told me they were learning about different vegetables. After I brought her home, she ran straight to my garden in the backyard and pointed to the various plants I had growing, saying “Grammy is this carrot?” and “Grammy is that a cumber?” Her curiosity was just so adorable, and I thought this could be an excellent learning opportunity for her.

child gardeningThe following weekend, I got to work setting up her own little raised garden bed in the backyard. Then, I went to the local home improvement store where I was able to find some child-sized gardening tools and some carrot seeds and green beans for us to plant. When her mother dropped her off at my house for the day, she was so excited to find her very own garden. I showed her how to dig little holes to plant the seeds, and why you shouldn’t plant them too close together. We then placed seeds into each of the holes and then covered them up with dirt. From preschool she had already learned that plants require water to grow, so she was eager to hold her little watering can and sprinkle water over the little mounds.

Not only has my granddaughter had the chance to learn how to plant seeds and tend to her own garden, but she’s also been learning the important value of patience. She was a bit upset when the day after she planted her carrots that she wasn’t able to just pull one up from the ground and eat it as a snack. I told her that it takes patience and care for plants to grow big, and that you can’t harvest them until they’re just ready. Well sure enough, yesterday I could tell that the carrots and green beans were ready to harvest. She had so much fun carefully pulling up the vegetables and then cleaning them off. Guess what we’re having for lunch today!

Gardening as a Senior

senior gardeningWhen I retired a few years ago, I had no idea what to do with myself. I had worked as a nurse for almost 40 years at that point, and I was so used to working all the time. Now, I can’t complain about not having to wake up at 5AM each morning, but going from a busy schedule to having practically no obligations left me bored and lazy. While I was working, I had just about zero time to pursue and maintain a hobby, so when I retired, all I knew to do was just sit around the house and watch TV. I was so bored, and I knew that my total lack of physical activity and not leaving the house would have a bad effect on my health.

I started doing a little research on various hobbies for folks my age. Most websites suggested activities such as swimming, yoga, and travel. I’ve never been much of a swimmer, and yoga just seems boring to me! And travelling can be way too expensive on my reduced income. But then I came across gardening as a way to stay healthy and busy. I had never really had much time before to regularly tend to a garden – any flowers or herbs that I’d plant would end up dying because I would forget to water them in the midst of my busy hospital schedule! But now with all my free time, I thought vegetable gardenit would be a good time to give gardening another go. And, according to this article, gardening requires a moderate level of physical activity, and would help me to increase my intake of fruits and vegetables. Win-win!

So, I decided to start small. With the help of my senior caregiver, Carol, who works with this home health care in Delray Beach, I built a small raised garden bed in my backyard and planted some tomatoes, peppers, and squash. I knew these plants would be simple to take care, and they will yield lots of yummy vegetables that I can cook with once they grow. Every day I like to walk out into the garden to check up on how my plants are doing, and I’ll water them every few days and take care of pests and weeds. I love getting out into the house now and being out in the sun tending to my garden, and I can’t wait for harvest time! I get a little bit of a workout and I’m eating much healthier than before.  I’ve even got a great recipe for pasta sauce that I’m planning on making with my harvest!