First Gardening Experiences

Growing Delicious Lettuce

Growing Delicious Lettuce

Can you still remember your first gardening experience? Was it a great experience or was it one full of disaster? Let me tell you a secret. Mine was such a horrendous disaster that right then and there I decided that I would never touch a garden again. What's worse, it wasn't even my own garden, it was my mothers and I decided to help her out by weeding. Well, I thought all the good plants were those that had flowers on them and that the weeds were everything else. Needless to say at that point in time some of the flowers were in bloom while the bulbs she had weren't. Needless to say I managed to "weed out" about half of the bulbs before my Mum discovered what I was doing. After that, well lets just say Mum and Dad weren't too impressed. My next major adventure into gardening occurred many years later while I was attending University and it all started shortly after I moved into my "new" house. Despite being rented, the owner was more than happy for me to potter around in the garden along with painting the walls etc. Apart from a few flowers to brighten up an existing garden bed I I thought it would be a good idea to start a fruit garden so that I could have some fresh produce and put my yard to use.Remember I was a poor student an it seemed to me that if I could grow my own fruit and vegetables I would save some money. So despite the fact that i didn't have any real gardening experience (Mum and Dad pretty much banned from their gardens) I decided that as long as I new what plants were what all I needed to do was plant the seeds and sit back to reap the benefits of my labour - about five minutes with a spade and rake to break up the dirt and get rid of some weeds and rocks. I should mention that the house was located adjacent to a busy suburban railroad line (4 tracks) and was essentially a barren, hard, nutrition-less, and unforgiving piece of and. However, at that point I didn't realize that when it came to gardening there was a major difference between 'dirt" and "soil". Anyhow, in an attempt to give my garden a border I used some of the rocks that I'd removed from my proposed garden patch. Most of the rocks looked like they were old railroad ballast and as you can imagine not really very attractive. Don't ask me what I was thinking, it just seemed like a good idea at the time!
Sprouting Cucumber

Sprouting Cucumber

The next day I went to the local gardening store and purchased a bunch of seed, pretty much whatever I thought would be tasty including tomatoes, strawberries, a few herbs, carrots, beets and cucumber. When I got home I poked holes in the ground and threw the seed in. I was so proud of my garden that I even got some little stakes and wrote on them what each seed was. From memory I faithfully watered my garden every day for several weeks before I realized that nothing was growing and wasn't likely too. Sheer bloody mindedness kept me watering well after any chance of something sprouting had long passed.
Some Handy Gardening Tools

Some Handy Gardening Tools

Talk about a let down. Feeling pretty dejected I began to do some research into gardening and in particular how to grow your own fruits and veggies. Apart from the university library I also used the Internet. this was back in the days when the net was new and a 28k modem was the way to go. Anyhow, I soon discovered a whole new world that included things like soil consistency, nutrients, ideal watering conditions, seasons, and so on. I also spoke to the gardening center who told me about my own local growing conditions and what I had to do. In sum, between books, the Internet and talking to people with local knowledge I learned how to get the ideal soil, when to plant the seeds, how much to water, etc. Today, you'll probably find that one good evening spent surfing the net will provide you with just about all the information you require. However, it doesn't hurt to have a couple of good Gardening Books at hand, even the ebook variety are pretty darn good. I guess the bottom line is that if you find yourself in the same position as I was and no matter how badly you want to get started don't jump in without doing some proper research. Moreover, don't be worried bout investing in good soil, fertilizers and tools. Remember, it's an investment that will pay for itself many times over and will save you going through the disaster I had to.

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