Inspiration and tips for the beginning gardener

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The first garden I ever had was on a small patch of dirt in our postage stamp sized yard in Toronto. I planted tomatoes and basil in the few feet of dirt available. We moved before I was able to enjoy the delicious fruit, but our neighbors ate up all the tomatoes and sent photos of the ripe food. A few years later, I joined a community garden in our neighborhood and had one raised garden bed full of peppers, beets, carrots, kale, and eggplant, and had access to shared beds of greens and tomatoes. Walking down to this spot every day and sharing this space with our neighbors  was beautiful. Last summer we participated in another community garden, but it was a till-your-own-spot in field and it was quite the adventure. This year, we’re setting up a few raised garden beds in our own yard.

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Growing your own flowers and food is rewarding, good for you health, and not as difficult as it may seem. Here are a few thoughts from my amateur experience on gardening if you’re new to it and aren’t sure where to start.

  • If you don’t have a lot of space buy some big pots and fill them with a handful of your favorite plants
    • Herbs
    • Tomato plant
    • Pepper plant
    • Lettuces
  • Follow the directions on the seed packet or information found on the sticks inside starter plants
  • Good soil is key so buy what you can afford – you never know what pesticides or other toxins are in the dirt
  • Having some flowers around will attract different bugs to help everything grow healthy and strong

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Gardening friends, what are some tricks of the trade that work best for you? I would love to hear your what your favorite things are to grow.

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For some more inspiration and information here are some lovely books on gardening.


Beautiful to look at:

The Pleasures of Gardening by Angela Stanford

Gardens of Awe and Folly by Vivian Swift

The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden


Practical and easy to read:

Rocks, Dirt, Worms, and Weeds: a fun user-friendly, illustrated guide to creating a vegetable or flower garden with your kids by Jeff Hutton

The 20-30 Something Garden Guide: a no-fuss, down and dirty gardening 101 for anyone who wants to grow stuff by Dee Nash


Helpful and inspiring:

Lessons from the Great Gardeners: forty gardening icons and what they teach us by Matthew Biggs

Garden friends: plants, animals and wildlife that are good for your garden by Ed Ikin

Good bugs for your garden by Allison Mia Starcher

Herbs for the Gourmet Gardener: a practical resource from the garden to the table by Caroline Holmes



Poetry: 

Garden Time by W. S. Merwin

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