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Get in the Garden

By Judi Gerber
4/18/2012 2:00:01 PM

Not only does April bring Earth Day, but it is also National Garden Month. Each April, the National Gardening Association (NGA), sponsors National Garden Month to encourage individuals to garden. I thought this was a good time to encourage those who have been thinking about gardening to go ahead and take the plunge. And, for those who are getting a slow start, I want to remind you that it is time to get back in the garden.

There are so many reasons that people garden. Some do it because they love fresh floral bouquets and in spite of the high prices we pay to buy flowers, they are relatively simple to grow.

For those who just aren't sure where to start and need some ideas and inspiration, as the weather keeps getting warmer, you can find inspiration by visiting local botanic gardens. You might want to consider becoming a member of your local garden because they can provide you with resources all year long. They offer seasonal garden classes, year-round programs, plant sales, and most have local garden clubs that focus on almost every kind of plant or flower that you can think of.

Others garden strictly to grow their own food so that they can ensure they are getting organically grown produce, and because they want to know exactly what goes into their food.

If you have wanted to try growing your own food but are feeling overwhelmed and aren't sure where to start, start small. Don't think that you need to plant the entire area that you have available. Start by growing some of your favorite, easy-to-grow vegetables and herbs.

My biggest piece of advice for new edible gardeners is to grow what you like and grow only what you will eat. It sounds so simple, but, many new gardeners get so wrapped up in the idea of growing all of their own food, and see this as the time to try eating new things, that they forget about what it might take to grow those things. Once you get comfortable growing produce, then you can gradually keep incorporating more and more as time goes on.

Regardless of whether you grow beautiful flowers or fresh food, the other reason that I garden is because it gets me out of the office, away from my computer, and out in the fresh air and gives me exercise at the same time.

And, as I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, I have learned so much from my garden, and not all of it related to horticulture but to the rest of my life as well. These lessons have been the biggest, unexpected gift I have gotten from gardening, and I look forward each season to learning more of them.

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