Starting a Garden: Guidelines For Having A Better Gardening Experience

Gardening is one of the best stress relievers I know, unless you unintentionally turn it into a stressful experience. Starting a garden and maintaining it is supposed to be fun and the end results of your efforts should be pretty flowers, healthy bushes, beautiful trees, not to mention…herbs and veggies galore. Sadly for some wanna-be gardeners, it doesn’t always turn out that way. So what should you do to have a better gardening experience? Fortunately, there are common sense guidelines that work. Here are three good ones worth considering!

Image: Backyard Garden by cwwycoff1, on Flickr

1. If You Are a Beginner–Start Small!

Don’t be like the kid who heaps way too much food on his plate – his eyes are bigger than his stomach. If you are just starting out, start small. Focus on getting good at small this season and then you can go bigger and better next season. I started out with just 7 tomatoes slips and three peppers. It was small and manageable. I called it my “test garden”. I was so excited when it turned out great and my family and friends gave raving reviews about how delicious my tomatoes and peppers were. Now…I am ready for bigger and better.

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2. Pace Yourself To Avoid Physical Burnout.

Fight the urge to do too much! Whatever you do, don’t jump out the door and go gung-ho all day without thought to your rarely-used quivering muscles, the sunburn taking place on the back of your neck and arms, or your body’s need to take nourishment on occasion. You’ll end up exhausted and with severely aching muscles, and that’s a terrible way to start your new gardening experience.

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Remember, starting a garden is supposed to be fun! So instead of doing the equivalent of a triathlon your first day out and sincerely regretting it the next day, try just doing an hour of manual labor and see how you feel tomorrow. Enjoy your gardening journey, not just the destiny.

3. Work Early Morning or Late Afternoon.

The quickest way to have a bad gardening experience is working in the garden in the blistering heat of the day. Here’s a better idea: get out there in the early morning and walk through your garden first to see what needs attending to the most. Remember, you don’t have to do everything in one day! Start you gardening early in the morning with a meander around the yard. Pick some flowers, pull up veggies for your lunch, and check that the tomatoes are growing nicely. Can you think of a better way to start your day? This is exactly the refreshing and stress-busting experience that gardening is supposed to be about.

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That really sums it up. If you want to have fun starting a garden and maintaining it, just start small, grow what you love, and don’t pretend you still have the body of a 21 year old.

Gardening books to get started:

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Revealed: My Ultimate, Top Ranking Stress-Buster!

I come from a family of farmers, so gardening should be in my genes, but until recently my life was just too busy to “get dirty” in the garden.

Gardening takes time and I just had too much to do. Well, about a year ago, I had an ”aha-moment” and the light bulb finally went on. I said to myself…”That’s precisely the point – I need to get away from the stress of my daily schedule and gardening is great way to do that!”

I bought a few gardening books, basic gardening tools, visited my dad on his plantation more regularly for insider tips and inspiration on how to start a garden, and never looked back!

Whether you have a large backyard or a few containers on a patio, you can enjoy the therapeutic benefits of gardening too. It’s the ultimate stress-buster activity!

Did you know that more and more psychologists and physicians are prescribing gardening for stress therapy?

Gardening allows you to enjoy an activity that’s nurturing and gives back whatever you put into it. In our instant gratification world, gardening changes the importance of time. Plants don’t grow overnight.

During the growth time, plants need attention and depend on you to protect them from bugs and disease.

I spent the last 3 months researching information on identifying tomato plant problems and protecting my budding tomato plants from those dreaded tomato horn-worms. Tomato horn-worms are those large, slimy, green-grayish caterpillars that feed off of tomato fruits and plants.

Removing them manually each day was a chore I seldom looked forward to, but it had to be done to protect my prized tomato plants!

Gardening teaches patience that over-stressed, highly anxious people don’t seem to possess. If you’re facing burnout and stress from work or your personal life, I highly recommend gardening for stress relief.

Gardening is an activity that gets you outdoors and actually helps to lower your blood pressure. Gardening can also give you a safe place to take out your frustrations.

Mad at your co-worker? Imagine that face on every shrub you prune. Need to work out some anger? Pull weeds.

And if you really want to work out some emotions, get an ax and chop the dead branches into mulch.

In these ways, you get something constructive out of negative emotions.

Even if your thumb isn’t very green, you can set up a Zen rock garden surrounded with easy care plants in small containers. If you use small containers, you only stand to lose a small amount of plants at once. Then you replace the container and don’t have to dig in the dirt. That’s much easier and faster.

Another way to make your garden a peaceful place is to add a water feature. Local home improvement stores have kits with everything you need and classes on how to set up the fountain.

Even a small water feature on the patio can bring a sense of peace to your garden that you can’t even imagine. As you gain more gardening experience, you can try growing different types of plants.

Check with your local plant nursery for suggestions on what types of plants fit into the limits of your outdoor environment and within your skill-set. Gardening might just become addictive, it surely did for me.

I now share my fresh, home-grown tomatoes with family and friends, and I welcome the positive comments when people drive by and rave about my visually appealing tomato plants.

Gardening is a good addition to my lifestyle- one that diminishes my stress and provides tranquility. It’s at the top of my list of resolutions for stress relief which I intend to keep throughout the year! Gardening is hands-down my ultimate, top ranking stress buster!!