Gardening and getting your hands a little dirty by digging in the soil can be an incredibly healthy hobby: Gardening can reduce depression and anxiety, help people lose weight, and increase quality of life and overall sense of community, according to Science Direct.
Not everyone, however, is a natural-born gardener – it takes time and trial and error. If your previous efforts at growing plants and flowers, or fruits and vegetables, have been less-than fruitful, there is hope.
Check out the following helpful hints for cultivating your very own green thumb:
- Relax. Even the best gardeners in the world have made plenty of mistakes. Recognize that Mother Nature can be fickle, weather is not predictable and perfection is not really the goal. Rather, half the fun can be in the planting, watering and watching.
- Plan. Depending on where you live, you will likely have more success with plants that grow well in that area. The National Gardening Association shares a zone map that can help you learn more about your location and what might grow well there. You can also talk to others about hardy plants that tend to thrive where you live.
- Enlist help. Invite family or friends to contribute to your garden – kids are often more willing to eat vegetables they have grown themselves – or check out local community gardens. You can quickly double your expertise when you engage others in your planting and growing efforts.
- Keep it simple. You can consult with a local nursery center to determine the best options for your garden. Peppers, tomatoes, basil, onions and chard as well as sunflowers and dahlias are often great starter choices. You can always expand in the future.
- Gear up. A shovel and gardening gloves are good tools to have on hand. Garden scissors and a small trowel may also come in handy. Perhaps, some knee pads will offer comfort when you are digging in the dirt, planting seeds and tending to the garden.
- Water and weed. You will not need to dig into the soil every day, but pay attention to how your garden is looking and growing. Ensure plants are watered regularly and that weeds are removed at least weekly. A little maintenance can go a long way towards creating an attractive and functional garden.
Finally, you can always consult with local experts at the growing number of farmer’s markets, nurseries or gardening groups. Many of these green thumbs would love the chance to share their passion with you and offer more tips on growing a gorgeous garden this year.
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