Wednesday, June 1, 2011

10 Essential Gardening Tips from a Hopeless Amateur

Clover patch, originally uploaded by xordroyd.

1. The shrimpy little bundle of leaves that you transplant into your backyard because it's an eyesore will inevitably become the most gorgeous bit of horticultural artwork you will ever produce.

2. That perky little volunteer tomato plant is always a federally certified noxious weed. Always.

3. If you are of Irish ancestry or personally know someone of Irish ancestry, BEWARE! You will soon realize that the only thing you can grow reliably is clover. (Hint: co-gardening with an English person may help alleviate this particular symptom.)

4. The boundaries for iPod listening in the garden:
  • Audiobooks: yes. Tolstoy is better appreciated while weeding the peonies.
  • Music: no. Tuneless humming along to the latest Taylor Swift album has been known to kill tender seedlings.
5. Dandelions lend a touch of class to any flower bed or window box.

6. Never bother to plan your garden: just start a bunch of little plants indoors and see what happens. Inevitably you will have far too few varieties, far too little garden space, far too many seedlings, or nothing at all--no matter what you do.

7. If one of your plants injures you, or you injure it, the best policy is just to forgive and forget. Don't grind axes, throw stones, or hold grudges. Bad things happen.

8. Here's a rule of thumb about weeding: 
  • If it's hale and hearty, by all means rip it up! It is probably planning to consume every square inch of dirt you possess.
  • If it's pale, wrinkled, pathetic, and/or spotty, keep it. This is probably your grandmother's heirloom rose.
9. Watering and weeding simultaneously is a very good idea. Squatting down in the dirt while spraying gallons of water out of a hose at high pressure makes for a highly satisfactory mudbath.

10. If you are of Irish ancestry, have a secret fondness for crabgrass, and/or happen to live in the Badlands, you might consider growing a weed garden. A bit of purslane here, some buckwheat over there, a touch of pigweed, and a patch of saramollagrass in the's bound to be a smashing success and the envy of all your friends. 

                                                                                                               Happy Gardening!

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