April is National Gardening Month, and for once in everyone’s busy lives, you are all bored enough to participate. But, how can you get started?
There are many routes you can take for getting into the Gardening Month spirit. If you have a yard with some room to grow, you can take on the traditional garden. To do so, you first need to find a nice sunny spot in your yard — preferably a level one — with plenty of space for your plants to branch out. Ideally this area will be within hose-distance from your house, unless you’re committed enough to tote a watering can around your lawn for the next few months.
Now that you have your perfect location, you need to pick out the types of plants you want to build your garden around. It’s important to remember that every plant has a different time of year it likes to grow in, a different level of shade it prefers and a specific climate it thrives in. Furthermore, some plants don’t get along with others. Mint and strawberries, for example, will choke out competitors due to their rapid growth and spread rate. If you look at the Old Farmer’s Almanac website, you can find out the plants that grow best in your specific region, down to the very town you live in. Connecticut, in general, is a great place to foster apple trees, rose bushes and wild berries. If your goal is to harvest a summer’s worth of vegetables, you might want to start out with some universally easy veggies like cucumbers, beans and peppers.
Once you know what plants you want to grow, you need to do a little research on which soils and fertilizers your plants prefer. Cucumbers, for instance, grow best in loose sandy loam soil, but can grow in any well-drained soil. Once your soil is spread out and the fertilizer has been laid down, carefully plant your seeds according to the depth into the soil and distance from one another they prefer.
After they’re planted, it’s all a matter of regular watering, based on the amount of water each plant prefers, and weeding. By summertime, you should see the results of your gardening adventure!
If you don’t have space to grow a traditional garden, you can try growing a terrarium or indoor garden inside your house. This tends to be the more trendy option, and can be done in an infinite amount of cool, creative ways based on the layout of the indoor garden and the container the plants will grow in. These gardens are perfect for both flowers to beautify your home and fresh herbs for your cooking. The key for indoor gardens and terrariums is to choose plants that get along, place them in containers that drain well and to give your plants the space they need to grow.
If you’ve never had much of a green thumb, you can try raising air plants, which only need a 30 minute soak in water once a week and ample sunlight to grow. Otherwise, they don’t need soil or much else to thrive.
Although quarantine will prevent us from celebrating a lot of holidays this month, National Garden Day doesn’t have to be one of them. Get outside and grow something you can be proud of.
Rebecca Maher is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.