Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Can I Really Grow It?

This is a question that many new gardeners might ask themselves. The answer is…..YES! YOU CAN!

Now to be fair, it may not be quite that simple. Not all plants will grow in all places, outdoors at least. And if all that you have is an outdoor garden, then depending on where you might be located, in reality there could be limitations. However, if you’re willing to bring plants indoors for the winter, then you’re back to being able to grow a large variety once again.

Although there is a much larger selection of plants available if starting from seed, some new gardeners may not be comfortable starting seed, while other gardeners - new or experienced - may just not have the time or patience to start with seed. Also, those who want to try fruit trees will probably prefer to start with a small tree. In either case, there are many nurseries where specialty (and not so specialty) plants may be purchased by mail, online or locally. You may not find quite as large a selection with plants as you would find with seeds, but with a little searching and building a little network with other gardeners, it is surprising what can actually be found.

Once you have your seeds and/or plants, then it basically comes down to following planting directions and proper care and feeding of the garden. (If you’re not sure how good your soil is, there are test kits available to find out if there is indeed any problem and how to remedy it.) What happens from there depends on the plant and Mother Nature. If it is a vegetable, fruiting can be expected within the season. If it is a fruit, some, such as strawberries, may be expected within the season (depending on when planted) while trees may take a year or more (depending on age of the tree planted) for the first fruiting. And while we’re discussing fruiting trees (and bushes), some are self- pollinating while others will need another one of their kind planted nearby in for pollination. Tags or descriptions should state this, however if not, it is best to inquire. A tree needing cross-pollination that is all alone in a yard will be a waste of time, space and money.

Part of the fun of gardening and growing your own food is trying your hand at new and/or unusual plants. Whether from seed or by started plants (a.k.a seedlings), half of the fun is the challenge of the new and unusual, while the other half is literally the fruits….and vegetables… of your labor. So the next time you see something unusual, try it! It could end up being the best thing you ever grew.

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