Friday, July 19, 2013

This Gardening Guru Gives Advice

I am not a gardening guru.

My thumb is beige and pink. Definitely not green.

I do not come from a family of farmers and gardeners. My parents were born and raised in Manhattan and Queens. Corn and wheat fields were history decades before Mom and Dad wandered the concrete streets of New York’s boroughs. Dad, however, became an avid gardener in his later years. One year he planted brussel sprouts. He could not understand why the plants flourished, but not a single sprout appeared. One day a knowledgeable visitor told him to move away the leaves and – behold – clusters of sprouts emerged!
A brussel sprouts plant - picture not from my garden.
Like so many endeavors in life that sound interesting and not too difficult before tackling, gardening can be frustrating. And tiring. And challenging. But there are rewards (so I keep telling myself…).
Rewards! Cherry tomatoes picked today from my garden!
Gardening books and articles do not provide full disclosure. The following valuable tips and nuggets of wisdom were painstakingly discovered after countless hours attempting to bring forth beauty and bounty from my small patch of earth.

Plant at least two of any bush, shrub, flower, or vegetable. One usually survives while the other struggles mightily against the elements, eventually turning brown, shriveling and dying. Plant one and it will without a doubt perish.
Two plants bought and planted together - one lives and one  does not.
The best results from your garden, such as the tastiest tomatoes, are ready to pick when you are out of town.

Perusing seed catalogs is a great way to waste time entice spring. Order seeds in plenty of time for indoor planting. Or wait and buy plants at the local garden store.

Transplant purchased plants as soon as possible, otherwise seedlings have a tendency to wither and die while sitting patiently, awaiting your attention, in the driveway or on your patio.

Check out garden stores for sale items such as tomato cages. Acquired too late to place over tomato plants, use (upside down) for beans, cucumbers, and other climbers.

Annuals that thrive one year will probably disappoint the next.

Want it to rain? Soak your plants.
Want it to stop raining? Pray.

Favorite plants grow excruciatingly slow. Plants least likely to please flourish and spread like wildfire.

A garden requires the most attention during the worst weather; usually a record-setting heat wave.

Weeds love your garden. They sneak up, peek out of the soil and yell “Gotcha!”.

No matter what you do your neighbor’s garden will probably look better than yours.

Do not be surprised if seeds (and other items) carefully stockpiled for the following year disappear over the winter.

If you want your garden to look picture perfect, hire a professional landscaper. 
My non-professional landscaping crew taking a break. 
Otherwise enjoy the time, effort, energy and creativity devoted to your garden. (I will not mention the $$$.) Whatever works congratulate yourself and whatever doesn’t, try something else next season. Most important – have fun!
My most successful endeavor. Looks great all year and requires no maintenance.
May plant more.


  1. I have always wondered where those seeds get to over the winter. You are so right, they do just disappear.

  2. Love this post. As a beginning gardener, I can attest to almost every one of these already. :-)