I have to believe that there is no one on Earth that doesn’t like a garden, because really, what’s not to like: fragrance, color, form, bees, worms, food, flavor, drugs. Of course, there’s also, back-breaking work, dirty finger nails, expense, blackspot, aphids, and just as much chance your hard work won’t come to fruition. But what the hell. Life’s a challenge anyways. Might as well be able to eat it. For those of you that find yourselves a bit Garden Challenged, allow me to introduce you to my eleven tips for Gardening with Dumb Thumbs: 1) You need dirt. (Unless you garden hydroponically, which is possible, but then you need a science degree and a controlled climate, and I don’t know about you, but my climate is anything but controlled. Like my tolerance for hydroponic gardening), you just need dirt. 2) This dirt should be a combination of structure, food, and drainage, which translates to top soil, compost, and sand (in that order and a ratio of 4:2:1). 3) Depending on what you grow, the soil should test to a pH level that is optimum to that plant’s needs. Tomato’s like a bit more acid (around 6.0 pH) while lilacs like their soil more alkaline (7.0 pH). I prefer the pH in my head to be more on the neutral side, like a pH of 7.0, which means ‘Personal Health of a 7 year old’. It’s a GOAL people. Jeez. 4) If you can’t grow your own plants from seed, then purchase the best/largest/healthiest plants you can afford. They may be a little more expensive, but, they are stronger and less disease prone. Like my great Aunt Jenny. She lived to 98 and died with a martini in her hand. Awesome. 5)You know the little tags on the plants that tell you how far to place each plant apart? Forget that shit. Plant close. This will keep the weeds down and the ability to retain water up. 6) Water and sunshine. How I love the beach…. wait- this is a garden post. Back to business: You can’t maniuplate sunshine. You either have it, or you don’t, and even though there are plants that love shade, most need light. Lots of it. As for H2O, it’s like wine. I need it and I don’t want it poured on my head. Most plants will do better, with less disease, if you water from the bottom (Am I right Ladies?) Or at least water early enough from the top IF there will be time for the plants to dry off. Reminds me of a joke about two Jews and a Priest in a schvitz, the Priest asked what time it was…. 7) In spite of all the Mother Earth Love of gardening organically, unless it’s veggies that are going to go into your mouth- use chemicals. When my roses are covered in aphids and my delphiniums are being eaten by little green worms that laugh in my face- I spray them with apocalyptic juices. I Am Woman. I carry Big Guns. 8) That said, I only use organic remedies and fertilizers in the vegetable garden. Not even I want to grow a third breast. Though I heard it can come in handy. 9) Deadhead. No- not BED head- DEADHEAD. If you want your plants to continue to produce (and who doesn’t?) snip the spent flower heads off back to the stalk. As for veggies- when my herbs and lettuces start to ‘bolt’ (flower) I give them a hair cut. Maybe it IS Bed Head? 10) Choose plants for growing ‘Seasons’- planting a c-o-m-b-i-n-a-t-i-o-n. It’s no good just to plant for spring, when you think you might live into Autumn. 11) You can torture yourself with color combinations, or, you can just resign yourself to the fact that most flower colors follow the temperature of the seasons. In example: Pale blues and pretty pinks and soft whites and pale yellows like the cool temperatures of spring. As the weather warms up- so do the colors. This stands to reason if you understand Botany. But since you probably don’t, and I do, you’re welcome. And finally, don’t forget to take a glass of the bubbly into the garden, and sharpen your tools… Always sharpen your tools.
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