Saturday, December 17, 2005

Is Gardening Right For You?

Gardening is a popular hobby right now. Many people are discovering that while they thought they would never do something so old-fashioned, it can be lots of fun! If you are considering planting something come spring, first make sure that you think about whether or not gardening is right for you.

Gardening is a constant hobby. It is not something that you can work on diligently for three days and then leave. You will need to use fertilizers or tend to the garden regularly if you will be going the organic route. You also will need to be available at harvest time. If you do not know when harvest times are, check your local nursery provider or look on the packets of seeds you purchase. If you will not be available during those times, then you probably do not want to garden, or at least you do not want to plant that specific crop.

You also must have patience to garden. All of your veggies, flowers, or herbs will not grow this year, and that is okay. Growing a gardening is about nurturing your garden and your soul, but some of the little guys will not make it no matter how good you are. That means that you have to be prepared to put in work with the possibility of no return.

Gardening also requires attention to detail. At least in the beginning, you will spend a good bit of time educating yourself about gardening. How do you plant a certain type of seed? What is compost? How do you get started making compost? How much water do the plants need? It is vital to put in the research time to help make your garden more successful.

Gardening also is about experimenting. Sometimes the plans in your gardening book will not work best for your area because of water drainage, sunlight, temperature, or some unknown factor. That means that you will need to get down with your plants and look for ways to make them grow better. If you enjoy that type of experimenting, then you may find gardening immensely enjoyable!

For the most part, gardening is an individual hobby. While you may find that you can work with others sometimes by having them help you with specific tasks, the majority of your time will be spent on your own, on your hands and knees, working in the garden. This solitude is great for people who love gardening and gives them time to reflect on their lives. Gardening provides a great way to get away from the stresses of your life, and people who garden often report feeling health benefits from the exercise of their hobby.

The final question you must ask is whether you like to get dirty! Gardening comes with a certain amount of dirt, by nature, and if you are finicky about your clothes or hair and will not want to get dirty, then this hobby is not for you. If you do not mind a little dirt on your hands, then you will find this hobby one that you can enjoy well into old age. One of the joys of gardening is that it is something people can begin to do at a very early age and then something they can continue through their elderly years. Gardening is relaxing and can be expanded or contracted to fit your needs at any particular time.

If you think that you have the personality for a gardening hobby, start small. You do not have to jump in completely the first time around. Start by planning your compost pile or by researching the types of plants that will grow in your area. When springtime comes around, give gardening a try by planting a few plants to experiment. Try some of the hardier varieties when you are starting out so that you can test whether or not you will like gardening with some plants that will be tough to kill. If you discover that you have what it takes to be a gardener, then you can add to your crop every year until you have enough to feed your family, at least in the summer months.

Give it a try. What do you have to lose?

By Julia Mercer

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