Lettuce seedling

Lettuce seedling

I am now in my third year of gardening. Do I have any idea what I am doing….well, sort of. In 2012 I started my very first garden. I read every book imaginable and researched as many gardening blogs as I could find. One would assume that all of this research paid off and I am now a master horticulturist, unfortunately as awesome as that sounds that couldn’t be further from the truth.

I started learning in December of 2011 to give myself plenty of time to prepare for the season. By the time April 2012 came it was time to plant my seedlings and I was near paralyzed. I was convinced I didn’t have a ‘green thumb’ and that everything would die. I had so much information looming in my head I could barely breathe. After my near death experience subsided, or rather my large panic attack that seemed like death I had an epiphany; these are god’s creatures, what’s the worst that could happen, zombies emerge and the apocalypse happens? As awesome as that would be for my instagram and youtube page,  my drama was a lot less exciting….and more like “Death to Nature one seed at a time!” OK, OK calm down it’s only gardening, but one does get lost in their thoughts when willing their seeds to grow; it’s essentially like watching paint dry only way more fruitful…sometimes.

Gardening is about experimentation, putting your hands in the dirt and seeing what good can come from it. Zombies (at least not in my garden) may not emerge but thank god for basil! Basil was my saving grace that first season. Not only did it grow from seeds but it kicked ass. I harvested over two pounds of basil that year and it was delicious. I was able to get one crop of strawberries but everything else died a slow death….despite all my efforts. Thankfully, because the basil was a success I continued to grow the following year. If I had it to do all over again I would ditch the research, throw some seeds in the ground and call it a day. All that research had me dizzy. Every gardener has their “thing” and no one thing is right or wrong because we each have different circumstances. Our soil, rain, sun and water are all different. Experience, practice and experimentation are my words of advice. Don’t be afraid to just try it.

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Tomatoes

How Epsom Salt Works On Your Garden

Experiment with your soil. I just planted a whole bunch of Rose Ballerinas in my garden and they are croaking…..turns out the soil is not what they prefer. One trick I recently learned for veggies and flowers is epsom salt. Epsom salt contains magnesium which is a vital mineral that helps plants produce chlorophyll. Magnesium also helps plants absorb phosphorus and nitrogen which are found in every fertilizer known to home depot. Magnesium is often found naturally in soil but it can easily get depleted from erosion or heavy agricultural use. Epsom salt is a great alternative. Unlike a lot commercial fertilizers which build up and mold, epsom salts dissolve and can’t be overused. They are also an organic way of feeding your plants! Yum! Another great thing about Epsom salts is that they encourage leaf growth for fruit, and vegetables. Tomatoes, lettuce and even flowers love it. So how the heck do you use salt to grow your plants?

Epsom Salt Garden Recipe

Dissolve 2 cups Epsom Salt into 2 1/2 gallons of water. (This will cover approximately 50 square feet of your garden) Gently water your flowers, fruits and veggies. Alternatively, you can also sprinkle a little salt around the roots of each plant and water in. When planting you can also apply the salt into the soil for planting. Repeat every 4-6 weeks throughout the growing season and watch in amazement as your plants flourish!

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Tomatoes, strawberries and cilantro

I still don’t have all the answers, but I have successfully grown cilantro, eggplant and tomatoes along with my trusted basil and my list continues to grow each year. Do I still make mistakes? Yup, sure do, but at least I know from experience what not to do next year!

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