Thursday, July 12, 2012

Supplementing Your Summer: Gardening

Gardening is one of my greatest pleasures.  It's hard work, but I'm not afraid of hard work.  In fact, I thrive on hard work.  I think most of us do.  And it's so rewarding.  It's like raising children, only plants get fresh in a very different way, and it's faster.  Some plants yield edibles that taste better than anything you ever bought at the store.  Others just bloom into the most beautiful forms you've ever seen.

Mmm, strawberries.  And wild blueberries, I've found, are tastier than any you can pick at a farm (and certainly better than the ones you buy at the supermarket).  Corn, I hear, loses its flavor quickly.  We all know how fun it is to pick peas and string beans.

A word of caution, however, to the wise, and those with open minds and hearts - gardening is a very competitive sport.  Alright, so gardening is not considered a sport anywhere on earth, but it can get very touchy.  Every gardener seems to feel that their way is the only way.  Whether they use chemicals as pesticides or fertilizer, or whether they use mulch, compost, or manure, everyone seems to feel that not only must they share their experiences with you but that you must also cling to their words as high wisdom from heaven.  You must plant when they say, you must build a greenhouse, you must start seedlings indoors, you must water every day - oh, no, wait! only every other day, you must put up chicken wire, you must, you must, you must.

Ugh.  Anyway, if you want to take credit for even one plant, be prepared to listen sweetly, with a gentle smile on your face, nod, and thank everyone you meet who has ever planted a seed for their advice.  Of course, as we all know, we should always be open to listening and seriously considering what ever anyone says, in case they're right.  But it does get frustrating after a while.

Here's a good rule of thumb - people have been gardening for a very long time.  Okay, that's not really a rule to garden by, but it puts things into proper perspective.

It must be possible to grow things with just the stuff you can find around you.  Granted, if you have no knowledge of what conditions a certain plant likes, facts are best unless you want to take the long route of try and fail.  Otherwise, most plants don't need extra special treatment that only the privileged few (namely, everyone, but you) knows about.
In many areas, even now, in July, you can still plant some vegetables outside.  Corn, for instance, is grown in two cycles in my area.  Beans and peas are a good bet.  Tomatoes!  But even if you can't plant new vegetables, there are plenty of flowers that are just coming into season or will be in autumn.  Put in some new flowers, trim back some bushes, do a little hoeing and/or weeding, and voila!  Look at the beautiful garden you've got!

But even if, for whatever reason, you can't have a full-out garden, you can grow some indoors.  Some excellent indoor plants are:


bleeding hearts


day lily - although lilies love sun, they are generally very hardy plants and can thrive in most conditions; if they have a few hours of sun, they should be okay




If you have any other tips or need me to clarify something, leave a comment!


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