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  • Writer's pictureAvery

Ask Avery: Is your Garden a Graveyard?

Updated: Mar 20, 2023

Welcome to Ask Avery! I'm Avery, and I'm hear to listen and help with anything and everything! Please feel free to write to me at AskAvery@pietrap.com and perhaps you'll be featured in my next article.

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Dear Avery, I've always wanted to get into gardening, but I have no idea how. I'm worried I'll just end up killing all my plants. Do you have any advice for beginners? Sincerely, Potential Plant Killer


 

Dear Potential,

I think it's a great impulse to want to start a garden. It can be great for your mental health, and you'll potentially end up with fresh food to eat right from your backyard. But it can be overwhelming to try and start a garden all at once, so let’s take it one step at a time.


What are you working with?

First, you need to look at what growing space you're working with. These are the key questions to answer to set yourself up for success.

  • Do you only have a deck, small patio or just a window?

  • How much of your yard do you want to set aside for your garden?

  • How much direct sunlight does your space get?

  • How easy or difficult will it be to water your garden?

  • What is your climate like: mild, dry, short summers? What Zone are you in?

  • How much time and effort do you have to keep up the garden?


Type of Gardens:

After you have the answers to the above questions, you can decide between raised/in-ground beds, containers or both.




A container garden is great if you have a small space like an apartment deck, or if you just want to test having a garden before starting a bigger one. Vertical containers are a great way to expand the amount of growing area in small spaces. Container gardening is also a great option if you don’t have access to a hose or irrigation system. However, you'll also be limited in types of things you can grow. For example, most types of squash require a large amount of space to grow successfully; while spinach doesn’t. Limits don't have to be a bad thing, though. In fact, being limited can help you focus in and perfect your skills with that species of plant in particular.


TIP: Look for plants that are labeled “container,” “bush,” or “dwarf” varieties. These are bred to grow best in small spaces and won’t end up growing too large. {Links and images to types of containers}

Raised or in-ground beds are a great addition if you have a yard. Raised beds are often 4’x6’ to accommodate the spacing needed for veggies. They're a great way to expand the types and varieties of plants you can grow. Watering raised beds can be done in many ways. Drip lines, sprinklers, hand watering are all options.




This is getting to be a bit long, so I'm going to continue my advice in the next column. Hopefully this has helped you start planning what sort of garden you're interested in. Remember, don't be scared to try new things. No one is perfect when they first try something new. Trial and error is part of the growing process, both for you and your plants!


Sincerely,

Avery



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