We all come to gardening for various reasons. Some people start a garden because they grew up in a family of gardeners. Some start a garden as a way to connect with their children through a fun activity. Others may be foodies and want the very best and freshest ingredients around, while some want food security for their families. Some will start a garden for one or all of these reasons or perhaps something else entirely. Whatever your reason for gardening is it can/will directly influence the way you garden. Finding your way of gardening will be completely unique to you, your growing environment and the why behind it all. Below are some ways you can find your way of gardening.
- Get To Know Your Why – Take a step back and list out all the reasons why you want to garden. From this list, decide the top 2-3 reasons that mean the most to you. This will be very personal and there is no wrong answer. Once you have your top reasons for gardening, you can then see if those match up to the way you garden now. Look to see if you can make changes so the way you garden fits with your main reasons. Do you want to grow as much food for your family as possible? Do you love the stress relief of gardening? Do you want to have a family garden that helps as a teaching tool for your children? Knowing your why is a huge help when times get tough in the garden, it will help you persevere.
- Decide How Much Time and Space You Have – Determining how much time and space you can actually dedicate to gardening can also help you find your way of gardening. Do you have a small area? Perhaps intensive planting/square foot gardening is best or container gardening. More time, larger space with great soil? Row gardens may work best for you. Terrible soil and persistent weeds in your growing space? Raised beds are the way to go! You will want to make your garden size match your time availability, the bigger the garden then more time you will need to dedicate to tending your garden. Less time = smaller garden space for ease instead of overwhelm.
- Look At Seed Catalogs – Decide what type of seeds you want to grow. All organic, heirloom, open pollinated or maybe hybrids? Looking through catalogs can help you decide what type of seeds you will likely plant in your garden based on what catches your eye. You can do a variety and most definitely do not need to stick to one way or another. Try out seeds from heirlooms and see if you like them. Try growing a few hybrids (not the same as GMO) and see if they do best in your growing environment. Heirlooms can be a little bit trickier to grow or may flourish, it really depends. Hybrids are often made to be resilient, but you don’t necessarily want to save seeds from these because their plant babies won’t be like them. (You’ll still get plants, they just won’t be just like their parent plant and will do in a pinch should there be a seed shortage or anything like that.) In time you may find that you prefer only heirlooms or only hybrids. This also ties into your why. If you are looking for rich flavor and textures, you may want to try heirloom varieties that are tried and true. If you want the most production possible with minimal pest damage and resistance to disease, you may want to go with hybrids that were bred this way.
- Learn From Others – Having a garden coach or mentor can help guide you to finding your way of gardening. I have found that over the years I have taken a little bit of this, a little bit of that from various gardeners both in person and on social media or through garden education. There will be things that you really like from one person and things you really like from another. There will also be things you don’t like, you can move past those and focus on what you feel will work for you. I suggest you read books, find social media accounts you like about gardening and take a few classes or hire a coach. All of these ways will give you insight in to what works for them and you can meld it all together for your own way of gardening.
Knowing your why, your time and space availability and the kind of seeds you want to grow will help you find the way you want to garden. Can you take a little of this and a little of that? I highly encourage you to! Please experiment and see what you like and what you don’t. My way of gardening has evolved and taken on many forms over the years. I still learn from others, still seek out mentors and implement what I feel will work for the way I do things. I also like to change things up from time to time for fun. Some seasons can be harder than others and having a breath of knowledge of how to approach gardening can help inspire you to keep going. Your way of gardening will change and grow as you change and grow. If your why changes, the way you garden may change with it. Gardening is deeply personal and can be done so many ways. What works for one person may not work for another based on needs, microclimates and a slew of other reasons. Whatever way you garden, make it your own and leave comparisons at the garden gate! You will find your way! Know that when it comes to gardening, there will always be something new to learn, no matter how long you’ve been doing it. Let your way of gardening evolve and grow as you do too!
If you need help in the garden, have more questions or want more personalized information, you can book into a 1:1 coaching session with me. (Space is very limited.) Garden Coaching