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Making something grow is a gratifying and simple hobby that one can enjoy at any age. If you'd like to give gardening a try, anytime is a good time to start. Here are a few basics for success:
Gardeners are one of the largest hobby groups in the world. Gardening can be as simple as a few containers or as complex as a few acres. Regardless of the scale, the same basic rules apply:
1. Realize that gardening is more of a process than a project. Plants take time to grow and along with the plants, you will grow patience. Accept the fact that not everything you attempt is going to look like a magazine cover. Also remember that some of the things you do may be great.
2. Learn about your gardening space. Indoors or out, locate where and when the sun shines. Pay special attention to the soil. Do a soil test to determine what type garden soil you have. Amend it or choose plants suited to it.
3. Learn about yourself. How much time and money do you want to invest? Gardening can be as simple or as elaborate as you want it to be. It's always a good idea to start small, finding more to do is seldom a problem.
4. Learn about plants, especially the ones you like. Whatever plant you chose to grow, from turfgrass to orchids, do some homework. If for some reason the plants you like most aren't recommended for your garden site, keep looking. You're sure to find something you like just as well, maybe even better.
5. Water, fertilize and prune regularly as recommended on the plant tag.
6. Get some good tools. You don't need one of everything to begin with. A spade, rake, trowel and pruners have started many exceptional gardens.
7. Learn to recognize symptoms before they become problems. Pests, diseases and environmental stressors of lawns and houseplants usually start small, giving you time to react and correct them. Knowing the problem allows you to select the right treatment.
8. Ask questions. You shouldn't have any trouble finding experienced gardeners who are more than willing to share advice and opinions.
9. Be safe. Follow product instructions carefully, especially pesticide and fertilizer.
10. Keep a record or journal of what works and what doesn't. Use this information when planning for next season.
11. The plant tag is a good source of information. Sunlight and water requirements, mature size and shape, planting instructions, bloom time, pruning needs and more are all right at your fingertips.
12. Gardening can be strenuous; sore muscles and blisters are often the result of a gardening session. Doing a few basic stretching exercises and investing in a good pair of gloves are worth the time and effort.
13. Perhaps most importantly, although gardening can be hard work, don't forget to have fun.