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06/09/14

Garden party: Green thumb not needed if you keep gardening simple

Gardening is a tradition of summer right up there with swimming pools, trips to the beach and soaking up sun every chance you get.
But those who aren't adept at gardening look at the activity as something they simply can't do well and skip, feeling that leaving it to the experts is the better bet. Simply put, gardening is an acquired taste and typically only is done by those who feel comfortable they can grow vegetables that actually are edible, instead of wasting time digging through the dirt.
The biggest mistake the would be gardening crowd makes is feeling that growing vegetables and planting isn't something that anyone can do, when in fact it can be enjoyed by the masses even if you've never done it before.
The trick to gardening is to keep the act of digging, planting and cultivating a respectable grove of vegetables is to keep the art form simple, rather than trying to bite off more than you can chew. Literally.
That means you should only set aside a small part of the lawn for your garden, rather than choosing to rope off the entire backyard. Chances are, you're not going to be able to eat all those vegetables during the summer anyway, plus why, as a novice, would you want to begin with such a huge undertaking when a small four foot by six foot patch of grass would easily suffice?

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Gardening really boils down to placement, soil and finding vegetables that don't take much tender, loving care to grow. Stick with the simple ones, like tomatoes, lettuce or squash, and always select vegetables that you like to eat, too. There's no sense in growing what you won't eat anyway.
You want to pick a spot in your yard that gets plenty of sunlight, but also is short on insects and pests. Your garden is a lot like having a pet in that you can't simply plant it and forget about it. Your garden needs cared for, and that maintenance includes weeding and pest control, hopefully both of which are minimal based on the spot you choose.
When in doubt, you can talk to a gardening person on staff at any home improvement store or retailer that specializes in the activity. They won't put the garden together for you, but they may be able to point you in the direction of the right soil and the tools you'll need to be successful. As far as tools, make sure you start out modestly with a beginner only mentality, rather than buying tools you'll never need. Start with the simple: rakes, wheel barrel and small and large shovels.
Even the basics when it comes to gardening can yield huge results and set you down a path that will have you eating fresh for the entire summer and counting the days until next year's crop is about to spring.

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