At some point or another, every gardener has been in the exact same position I am in right now – “I want to be a gardener, and it shouldn’t be that difficult to learn.” You set your goals, probably Pintrest ideas, find your land, get the seemingly correct products to help with success, and then you start. How exciting gardening will be this year! Dreams of tomatoes, fresh spinach, kale, squash, cucumbers, oh my! Then… it’s not turning out the way you thought. Why are my plants yellowing like this? Did I over-water them? It seems that this plant is fighting this plant and my squash is killing my cucumber what do I do! This is too much, I can’t do it. I failed.
As a new gardener, I figured that gardening wouldn’t be that difficult. I was wrong. I almost wanted to give up and I’d never see what “green thumb” I could have. I struggled to understand how something that I’ve seen my grandparents, friends, and family do could cause so much frustration. I thought it would be easier, and I didn’t take into account the hard work that goes into gardening. Now, that’s not to say I’m naive about how hard gardening can be; I just never took the time to understand that there are so many factors, and so much you need to learn before you can be really good at it. I just wanted my love and interest in gardening to be enough. To a point, that is enough to maintain a healthy garden, but there is so much more that you need to plan for and learn. But after some time of wanting to give up, I am learning hands on what it really takes to be a gardener.
Not learning about your products before you start gardening might be one of the biggest mistakes I made. It seemed easy enough, and when you really want to be good at something, sometimes your eagerness gets in the way of trying to be smart about it. I have now started to learn the different types of families of plants, when to sow or transplant, what pests could harm them, what weeds are sprouting near them, and basic traits of the plants. It’s still all very overwhelming to me- the new gardener- but I want so badly to be good at it. I want to feed myself with great ingredients, and I want to teach others about the importance of growing your own food or even just eating locally grown food. If anything, gardening is a great stress reliever and will help foot some of the grocery bill when you can finally harvest all your beautiful produce.
My advice to anyone who is a new gardener, just keep at it! It’s scary, and it might take some time to get the hang of it. There are so many different factors that play into a great season, and even people who have been gardening for years get it wrong sometimes! The joy you will receive from watching your little plant babies grow and turn into beautiful produce will be so worth the long hours and efforts put in throughout the season. This new gardener is excited to see what I will learn and what joys I will receive this season!
Karli Norton, Spring Garden Management student