After a season or two of gardening, you have probably (hopefully!) decided it’s for you! While it’s not for the faint of heart, it is incredibly rewarding, challenging, peaceful and fulfilling, but I don’t have to tell you that, do I?
You’re ready to take your gardening game to the next level, and I am so excited for you to continue this journey!
Once I got bit by the gardening love bug, I decided to set a five year goal to grow my family’s produce in our yard. I knew I needed a large chunk of time because there was so much to learn – there always is and will be!
As I gained more knowledge and experience, I wrote articles both to remember what I’d learned and to share with you what helped accelerate my learning and allowed me to go from garden garnishes to entire meals straight out of my backyard.
Expand Your Knowledge
When I first started out gardening, I used a planting guide from a local garden store. As my knowledge grew, I started using seeds packet to create my own planting calendar, including all the plants I wanted to grow. I was able to tailor it my family’s needs and wants.
Learning plant families was HUGE for me! Originally, I set out to learn about one plant at a time. I decided to dedicate each month to learning about one fruit or vegetable I was growing, but it didn’t take long to notice the similarities and change plans. Now, I organize my seeds based on families and have learned so much more in less time!
Extend Your Growing Season
Starting seeds indoors changed my whole gardening game. It allows you to start seeds despite harsh winter weather or sky-high summer temps so you can get a head start on growing seasons. Additionally, it allows for a taste of gardening when you otherwise might not be outside enjoying your growing space because the weather’s bad.
Once you have a few seasons of gardening under your belt and you’ve tasted the deliciousness of homegrown produce, you are probably going to start wondering why you’re not growing anything during certain times of the year. At least, that’s what happened to me. I wanted fresh produce year-round. These two steps were all it took to get me there. Depending on your specific climate, you will need to make adjustments, but this is a great starting point regardless of your location.
Let Nature Work for You
When I started diving deeper into gardening, it was like my backyard woke up from a long resting period. All the sudden it was busy with activity and a whole new ecosystem had emerged (a super awesome bonus for gardening with littles). These are the best ways I know of to attract the beneficials, or good bugs, to your garden. Why? Because these bugs will work for you, pollinating your flowers and acting as predators to many of the garden pests.
After a season or two, you are bound to end up with some unwanted garden pests. And as much as you might want to eliminate all of them forever, it’s important to manage garden pests instead of aiming for total elimination. You want your growing space to be safe for you, your food and all your garden allies. These are the top three ways I do so in my garden.
Learn how to use plants to improve your soil, prevent erosion, suppress weeds and/or manage pests and diseases in your growing space. It’s the ultimate way of letting nature work for you! Stop leaving your garden beds bare and start using plants as workers.
Lessen Your Workload
As you grow your garden, you will want to have strong systems in place. Trust me, I know – I learned the hard way that working full-time and watering a large growing space in the heat of the summer wasn’t going to cut it. These are the two changes that saved our food and my sanity, helping us keep a balance of work and play. But don’t just take it from me, learn some time-saving tips from four other busy folks, too!
Conserve Your Resources
Whether you live in an area with water restrictions or just want to save on your water bill, rain barrels are a great way to add more sustainability to your garden setup.
Aren’t sure you are ready to up your gardening game to the next level? Wondering if you should throw in the towel (er, your garden gloves) instead? I totally understand the discouragement that can, sometimes, come from gardening. Just remember to keep learning and experimenting – that’s what I do and it keeps it fun!